Cri­sis-hit Lyon des­per­ate to halt alarm­ing slump

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

PARIS: Strug­gling Lyon will at­tempt to halt their alarm­ing dip in form away to Toulouse to­day as the pres­sure mounts on Bruno Ge­n­e­sio fol­low­ing a run of five de­feats in six matches. Lyon lurched into cri­sis mode af­ter crash­ing to a 3-1 home re­verse against Guingamp last week­end, and it won’t get any eas­ier against a Toulouse side that has been re­ju­ve­nated un­der Pas­cal Dupraz. “We’re go­ing through a dif­fi­cult pe­riod. We must re­dis­cover our con­fi­dence. Lots of things are linked to that. We have to keep work­ing to­gether,” Ge­n­e­sio told the club’s in­house tele­vi­sion chan­nel.

Cap­tain Maxime Gon­alons was seen re­mon­strat­ing with un­happy sup­port­ers af­ter Lyon’s lat­est de­feat, their sec­ond al­ready at Parc OL this sea­son, and ad­mit­ted the cur­rent out­look at the club was trou­bling. “The sit­u­a­tion is se­ri­ous, very se­ri­ous even,” said Gon­alons. “We un­der­stand the un­hap­pi­ness of the fans but we’re in the same sit­u­a­tion. It’s wor­ry­ing and we must get back on track.”

Lyon pres­i­dent Jean-Michel Au­las set the team a tar­get of 31 points by the win­ter break, a de­mand­ing as­sign­ment for a side beaten five times in 10 out­ings with games against Paris Saint-Ger­main and Monaco still to come. Alas­sane Plea’s hat­trick en­sured Nice re­mained four points clear at the top, and coach Lu­cien Favre is set to wel­come back Mario Balotelli for Sun­day’s visit to Nantes af­ter the Ital­ian sat out the 4-2 win at Metz through in­jury.

The Ligue 1 lead­ers have also raised more than 120,000 euros ($130,000) for the vic­tims of July’s Bastille Day truck mas­sacre in the city af­ter auc­tion­ing off a com­mem­o­ra­tive kit that bore the names of those killed in the at­tack. PSG coach Unai Emery backed mid­fielder Marco Ver­ratti to re­turn to his best af­ter the Italy in­ter­na­tional’s stroppy re­ac­tion to be­ing sub­sti­tuted in Sun­day’s 0-0 draw at home to Mar­seille that left PSG six points be­hind Nice. “I’m happy with Marco. He’s im­por­tant for the team. The way I man­age him is the same as the others,” said Emery, whose side visit Lille on Fri­day. “He started (pre-sea­son) later so it’s im­por­tant to look af­ter his phys­i­cal state. Now, he has to im­prove as we move for­ward and I’m sure he will.”

All change at Mar­seille

PSG go to Basel in the Cham­pi­ons League next Tues­day and would pro­vi­sion­ally move up to sec­ond, above Monaco, with a vic­tory at the Stade Pierre Mau­roy this week­end. Monaco could have Por­tu­gal mid­fielder Joao Moutinho back for to­day’s trip to Saint-Eti­enne, but Leonardo Jardim will also have an eye on Wed­nes­day’s Euro­pean tie at home to CSKA Moscow.

Rudi Gar­cia will take charge of Mar­seille at the Stade Velo­drome for the first time in Sun­day’s game against Bordeaux. Amer­i­can owner Frank McCourt con­tin­ued his over­haul of the nine-time French cham­pi­ons on Thurs­day with the ap­point­ment of for­mer Spain and Barcelona goal­keeper An­doni Zu­bizarreta as the club’s new sport­ing direc­tor.

Zu­bizarreta car­ried out the same role be­tween 2010 and 2015 at Barcelona and helped the Span­ish cham­pi­ons lure Ney­mar and Luis Suarez to the Camp Nou. Bot­tom side Lori­ent are still search­ing for a new man­ager af­ter Syl­vain Ripoll was sacked last week­end in the wake of their lat­est de­feat. For­mer Mont­pel­lier and Rennes boss Rol­land Cour­bis had been close to tak­ing over but was forced to rule him­self out of the job af­ter be­ing un­able to free him­self from con­tracted me­dia work.


LYON: Lyon’s fans dis­play a ban­ner read­ing “A re­ac­tion and fast” af­ter their team lost the French L1 foot­ball match be­tween Olympique Ly­on­nais and EA Guingamp on Oc­to­ber 22, 2016, at the Parc Olympique Ly­on­nais.

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