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Alexandre Lacazette says he can only blame himself for his mid-season goal drought, but after his knee operation he felt liberated and got back to his best.
Speaking to the French media in Wednesday’s L’Equipe, Lacazette agreed with his interviewer that the operation was the turning point in his season.
“Yes, clearly,” he said. “Before the operation, I was feeling pain but I told myself I could continue. I wasn’t playing well or scoring but I didn’t want to look for excuses. But then the knee locked and I couldn’t hope to finish season well and go to World Cup with a knee like that.
“[After the operation], as I had no more pain, I felt liberated. This break helped me to digest everything that happened in the last few months.”
Since the surgery, Lacazette has eight goals and an assist in 10 games, a more than respectable record. Compare that to before, when he went 10 games without scoring a single goal. The striker says it was unknown territory for him.
“It had never happened to me before,” he explained. “In the evening, I was walking home and I said to myself ‘come on, the next game, you can do it’, but I couldn’t.
“In fact, I only realised at the end of five or six matches. All of a sudden, I said to myself, ‘how long has it been since I scored?’ It was eating away at me. I couldn’t blame anyone else, it was only me. I couldn’t blame the coach, because he picked me, or my team-mates, because I had opportunities. It was only me.”