Nantes’ Antoine Kombouaré on winning the Coupe de France: “It’s almost a miracle.”

Speaking after his team’s win over NIce last night to win the Coupe de France, Nantes manager Antoine Kombouaré reacted to winning a trophy with the team that first brought him to mainland France as a player in 1983.

His words transcribed in L’Équipe, the coach spoke of a “miracle”, as he took Les Canaris to their first title in over 20 years, and with that a place in Europe, having saved them from relegation by the skin of their teeth last season.

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What are your feelings after this win?

What I’m experiencing is just crazy. Even in my wildest dreams I wouldn’t have imagined myself at Nantes and winning a trophy with this club. I want to thank all of my staff and above all the players. They are the ones who have allowed us to be at the Stade de France and to lift this Coupe de France. They were exceptional. They own this victory.

What did the match hinge on?

We had to stay strong despite the stakes at play, having come from nothing. A year ago we could have died and found ourselves in Ligue 2, and now we’re winning the Coupe de France and we’ll play in the Europa League. I’ve been told we’ll be in the Trophée des Champions as well. Can you picture that difference? We can hardly believe it. It’s also a win for the supporters. They gave us a lot of strength.

Is this the best trophy of your career?

That’s clear. I was ready to swap all the victories I’d had before for this one. When Ludo [Blas] lifted the trophy, I thought back to my arrival from New Caledonia. I think back to my glorious elders. It’s a massive source of pride to find myself here. It’s almost a miracle to be at Nantes and lifting a trophy with this club.