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26.11.2014, 14:33
Pineau: "I don't want things the safe way"
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INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK: The French centre back Allison Pineau reveals to eurohandball.com why she joined RK Krim Mercator and how far she thinks France can go at the EHF EURO 2014
 

Pineau: "I don't want things the safe way"

Just about a month ago French centre back Allison Pineau announced that her and her club up to this date, Vardar Skopje, had decided to go separate ways.

She then joined Slovenian side RK Krim Mercator a couple of days later and after having passed all necessary medical tests, Europe’s handball fans will see her back on court when the Women’s EHF Champions League resumes in late January.

Currently Pineau prepares with the French national team for the Women’s EHF EURO 2014, but nevertheless she found the time to speak to eurohandball.com about the reasons that convinced her to join Krim and also about her expectations ahead of the upcoming EHF EURO.

eurohandball.com: What are the reasons that made you leave Vardar Skopje?
Allison Pineau: I don't want to talk about it. The page is now turned and I don't want to spend time on it anymore. Vardar and I came to the conclusion that our mutual interest was for me to leave the club.

That led to my signature with RK Krim Mercator. I had different offers, but the one from Krim met my expectations best.

eurohandball.com: This choice doesn't seem like the most obvious one. Could you explain it a little bit more?
Allison Pineau: When people say that Krim isn't the most obvious choice, it surprises me a little bit. Obvious for whom, compared to what? There are differences between rumours and what is really happening.

I had contacts with other clubs but it didn't work out for multiple reasons. On the sports side of things, Krim brings me everything that I was looking for, especially the Champions League participation.

Maybe their squad is not as impressive as Györ's, for example, but it still is one of the top European clubs. I wanted to play the Champions League again this season, and that's mission accomplished.

eurohandball.com: With playing for Valcea and Vardar, you have had two international experiences now and none of them ended the way you wanted it. Didn't you think about coming back to France?
Allison Pineau: Of course, I thought about it, but quickly I realised what the reality was like, sports-wise. I wanted to play Champions League – and not only play it, but have a major role in it, too.

You've got to realise that the chances to go far in this competition with a French club are not as high as when you are with a foreign club.

But yes, after two unsuccessful experiences abroad, you think about it a little bit. Coming back would have been quite safe, though. I didn't want it that way and starting again with Krim is a way to carry on what I've been doing in the past few years, still evolving and progressing.

eurohandball.com: You've had some good experiences with Vardar, especially taking part in the Women’s EHF FINAL4 last season. Do you think you'll be able to experience this again with Krim?
Allison Pineau: Of course, it was one of main topics before I signed. The president and the coach have ambitions to get back to the highest level, to build a big team in the next few years to be able to go to the FINAL4.

eurohandball.com: You'll take part in the EHF EURO in Hungary and Croatia in two weeks and even though you didn't play there, what do you think of France’s performance at the Golden League at the beginning of October?
Allison Pineau: I think it's all been a little bit average, but I wouldn't say that it's been a negative competition. We have to capitalise on our strengths while trying to erase our problems.

Of course, we lost against Norway there, but we beat Denmark there and drew against Brazil. It shows we're able to bother a lot of people, and even if Norway beat us big time (23:15), I don't see them as impressive as I think they were a couple of years ago.

The results are more positive than negative and I think that with a more complete team, with some injured players back in the squad, we should be even better.

eurohandball.com: How do you explain the lack of consistency when it comes to result, this ability to beat everyone but also to be beaten by almost everyone?
Allison Pineau: We've talked about it a lot among ourselves, about this ability to go to the final stages of a competition without winning anything.

We have problems in knock-out phases, without really knowing why. It's all down to small details; a little something is always missing. Either at the Olympic Games, or at the World Championships in Brazil, we had the capacity to win gold, but we didn't...

If you look closer though, Norway, Montenegro or any of the other top European national teams are made up of players used to Champions League games. Games with higher pressure.

Maybe we miss something in this area. Even if the French league is getting better every season, we're still far away from European top level, and we probably lack the experience from these big European meetings.

eurohandball.com: What will be your goals at the EHF EURO 2014?
Allison Pineau: First of all, we want to make it past the group stage with enough points in order to have chances to reach the semi-finals. We've got a tough group with Serbia and Montenegro. But you know, it's the way European Championships are designed and that makes it so hard.

Every group is tough when you look at the draw, and every team can lose in almost every game. But, even if I say Serbia and Montenegro are tough to face, the other way round is also true.

I don't think other nations are particularly happy when thy face France, because we're up there with the best on our good days.

It's hard to give any predictions for now who will finish first of the group: It’s going to be either us, Serbia or Montenegro.

eurohandball.com: Neither with your clubs nor with the national team have you won a major title to date? Isn't it becoming frustrating?
Allison Pineau: It definitely is, especially when you've played finals and never won anything. It even exceeds frustration actually; it's becoming a little tiring to miss these opportunities.

With the Champions League, it's still bearable. I've played two semi-finals so it's not that bad. But it's true that with the national team, we're never far from the goal but we almost always come back with empty hands.

Luck wasn’t with us a lot of times, especially in Brazil with all the injuries, so we can't really blame anyone. But honestly, it would do something good to everyone, including me, to win something one day with the national team.

eurohandball.com: You were award World Handball Player of the Year in 2009 when you were only twenty. Do you think you'll be able to reach this level again one year?
Allison Pineau: Of course it can come back. I was only twenty back then, and I haven't had the chance to confirm the award because I've been injured a lot. It was better in 2011 actually, but then I badly hurt myself at the World Championships.

Everything's still possible, but you can't fool yourself, individual awards come when your team get results. It's my role to take my respective teams to another level so I can, maybe one day, get this kind of award again.


TEXT: Kevin Domas / ts
 
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