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Lyon coach Claude Puel faces old team Lille

Lyon coach Claude Puel faces old team Lille

Lyon coach Claude Puel hosts his former club Lille as the seven-time champion looks to return to winning ways on Saturday, after a surprise 3-0 loss at Rennes in the previous round narrowed the club's lead to just two points.
Puel, who is in his first season in charge of Lyon after taking over from Alain Perrin, had previously achieved considerable success during his six years at Lille. His team finished second behind Lyon in the 2004-05 season and third in the following campaign, and Lyon never enjoyed facing Puel's aggressive teams.
"A lot of Lille's players know me," Puel said. "I think it will be a bit like the game of the season for them. I know their abilities."
Puel did not leave Lille empty-handed, either, taking lynchpin defensive midfielder Jean II Makoun with him to Lyon. Mathieu Bodmer, another former Lille player who had blossomed under Puel's guidance, had already been signed by Perrin.
Puel's teams at Lille made a big impression on players like Lyon's Brazilian midfielder Juninho.
"Claude Puel did a lot for Lille, he made them grow and got them into the Champions League," Juninho said. "It's true that they often gave us a lot of problems."
Lyon's defeat away to Rennes on Oct. 5 came as a shock to the Lyon players. They are determined to show it was a blip rather than a sign that they are any weaker than last season.
"We all want too show that this 3-0 defeat to Rennes was an accident," Juninho said. "We absolutely have to get the three points to keep our rivals at bay."
After eight rounds, Lyon has 19 points, while Toulouse is in second place with 17, and Marseille is close behind on 16. Both have tough away games, giving Lyon another chance to open up a gap.
Toulouse plays at Bordeaux on Saturday, and Marseille is away to Valenciennes on Sunday.
In Saturday's other games, it is Caen vs. Grenoble; Monaco vs. Nice; Nantes vs. Saint-Etienne; Paris Saint-Germain vs. Lorient, and Sochaux vs. Le Havre.
In Sunday's other matches, Auxerre hosts Rennes, and Le Mans takes on Nancy.
Following a bright start to the season, PSG has dropped down to 11th spot and is keen to bounce back following a surprise 1-0 home defeat to Grenoble in the previous match at Parc des Princes.
Lorient also won at PSG last season and goalkeeper Mickael Landreau is expecting an equally tough time.
"We know that all the teams that come to the Parc (des Princes) are really up for it," Landreau told the club Web site. "But the pressure on our team is even more impressive."
On Wednesday, the French football federation kept Raymond Domenech in charge of the national team, despite a stuttering start to the qualifying campaign for the 2010 World Cup.
Also Wednesday, French government officials warned that future games international games may be canceled if there is any repeat of the scenes at Stade de France on Tuesday when the French national anthem "La Marseillaise" was loudly jeered by Tunisia fans.
President Nicolas Sarkozy's office denounced the "scandalous incidents" and the French sports minister said future games would be canceled if fans jeer the anthem.
The French national anthem had already been jeered by Moroccan fans before a friendly at Stade de France in November, 2007 and Morocco captain Abdeslam Ouaddou spoke out against the latest incidents.
"I am outraged and I condemn this behavior, as I did for those Moroccan fans who jeered," Ouaddou told the Web site of sports daily L'Equipe. "It's a lack of respect toward France, and to think that a lot of them have dual nationality."
Ouaddou was skeptical about whether such matches could ever be played again at Stade de France.
"These matches between France and North African teams are there to unite people, not to divide them," he said.


Updated : 2021-10-22 12:49 GMT+08:00