USVO Valenciennes may have a much-changed squad heading into this season's EuroLeague Women campaign, but new coach Herve Coudray is demanding immediate success from his charges.
The northerners completed the domestic double last season, toppling Bourges Basket in the Ligue Feminine run-in and in the Coupe de France final, but failed in Europe.
|Kristi Harrower is just one of the players USVO lost this off-season. |
Over the summer, they lost star names, such as Sandrine Gruda and Kristi Harrower to UMMC Ekaterinburg, while coach Laurent Buffard also moved to the Russian giants.
But they have recruited well in the close season and with the likes of Emilie Gomis and new signing Laurie Koehn pulling the strings, they look to have a good chance this year.
In Gambrinus Brno and Spartak Moscow Region, they have some big names in their group, but Coudray is expectant.
"You have to give us a bit of time, but with the prestige of this club, not being at the top of the table would be a disappointment," said the man who left USO Mondeville for USVO this summer.
"There is still a lot of work to do to find a consistency of play for 40 minutes, but the other teams are not that advanced either.
"(Dexia W) Namur only got back their players a week before we did. And at Brno, the foreigners arrived just last week."
Belgian side Namur provide the opposition in USVO's first EuroLeague fixture on Thursday.
USVO have begun their domestic campaign well, winning their opening three games.
But for the Les Bleues contingent among the squad, the disappointment of the summer still lingers.
France could only finish eighth in EuroBasket Women, which prevents the team from playing in next year's World Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
Sabrina Reghaissia is desperate to make amends.
"After the experience with France, there is an enormous amount of frustration here," admitted the small forward.
"Fortunately, anything is possible at this club. I have never been in a Final Four. Why not this season?"