Leynaud: “I want to go a step further with Vardar”Article
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INTERVIEW: Vardar goalkeeper shares her feelings on heading for Budapest for the third time and her personal development over the years

Leynaud: “I want to go a step further with Vardar”

French goalkeeper Amandine Leynaud has been one of the crucial players in Vardar’s squad this season.  With her great performances she helped the team to improve the weaker season start and with her saves she had a big role in the 34:20 quarter-final win over Larvik on Saturday, putting her side on the verge of the Women's EHF FINAL4.

The 29-year-old speaks to ehfCL.com about the victory, her time in Skopje and being announced as an All-star team nominee.

ehfCL.com: Vardar demolished Larvik in Skopje. What do you think was the key for such big victory?

We started really well in the first ten minutes and this brought us a lot of self-confidence. Our defence was really good and this gave us easy goals in counter attack. We basically played really fast and started gaining even more confidence and then it was simply impossible to stop us.

Before the match I didn’t expect that we will have such high-score victory but I’m happy that my team demonstrated this superiority.

ehfCL.com: Larvik are mentally down after the high score defeat. Do you think this gives you chance for victory at guest side too?

Even though we play on their court I hope that we will win. I’m sure it won’t be easy and the fact that we won by fourteen goals at home means nothing. It’s never easy to play in Norway but I hope that will we show our best once more and prove that Vardar is a team that deserves a place at the FINAL4.

ehfCL.com: You are an All-star team nominee this season. What does this mean to you?

It is of course a really big pleasure for me that I got the nomination in the All-star team of the season, but for me personally it is really important to have really good results with my team. The feeling is absolutely amazing when you have all of this and you can compare it with anything.

ehfCL.com: Can you tell us your overview on the performance in the season so far?

I think we very a little bit stressed at the beginning of the season because we didn’t play very well but as time passed by we simply improved our shape. This is also the point of the season, when you start bad you simply must progress and this happened with our team. My performance also became better because my teammates did very good job in defence and this makes me happy.

ehfCL.com: Pytlick left the assistant coach position and David Davis took his place? What kind of changes did he bring in?

They are very good coaches and there isn’t a single bad thing that you can say about them. Like all the other coaches they are also striving to prepare the team for victories. However both of them have different styles and teach us different things which turn out good for us because we have a mix of styles this season.

When it comes to David Davis the one thing that is characteristic from him is perseverance. He is not giving up until we accomplish the given task and if it takes we repeat the same thing over and over again.

ehfCL.com: There were plenty of rumours this season but at the end you prolonged your contract with Vardar. Why did you decide to stay?

I have been here a long time and I simply got used to Skopje. I love this team and I adore this place. With my team we were participants in both FINAL4 editions and it took a little to make a big success but we still didn’t reach the highest place at the podium in Budapest.

I still think we can win the Champions League because our team is really good and I would like to make this step with this club. So basically the point is that when I start something I want to finish it and I want do go for the trophy with this club.

ehfCL.com: How much have you improved during your stay in Vardar?

I think we have all the conditions here and it is great when you have all possible facilities in the same place. Before I arrived here I had a lot of games in the domestic championship and it was hard to play all the time but with these games I was constantly working on my shape.

Here we don’t have that many games and I think that the progress is in my head because now I have more time to think about everything.

ehfCL.com: Vardar earned the bronze medal two years in a row. What do you need in order to surpass this achievement?

If I knew that I would do it right away. Maybe I’m wrong but this team is playing few years together and now we finally feel each other on the field and the connection is much better and I think that this is the thing that will take us a step further.

ehfCL.com: Vardar signed several players for the next season.  How much are you satisfied with the roster for the next season?

Everyone would like to have a team like ours. The good thing is that we have good players that will join us. Again we have a mix of cultures and this can be positive for us.

When Camila Herrem joins us next season, she will show us the Norwegian secrets to success.

TEXT: Amina Idrizi / cor