Nice defender Renato Civelli has hailed manager Claude Puel's impact in transforming the club's fortunes ahead of tomorrow's Ligue 1 clash against Lyon.
Nice finished 13th last season with a total of 42 points but are currently fifth in the overall standings having already amassed a tally of 29, which have included seven wins and eight draws.
Puel had his contract terminated by Lyon in 2011 despite having a year remaining and joined Nice in May this year on a three-year deal.
The 51-year-old already claimed some bragging rights over his former club when Nice beat Lyon 3-1 in the Coupe de la Ligue round of 16 in October.
Civelli praised Puel, who has also managed Lille and Monaco, after OGCN's strong start to the season.
``He brought us his experience. And no doubt about it, he has 10 years of a management career behind him and that is a record that can not be disputed,'' Civelli told L'Equipe.
``He has broad shoulders and it absorbs all the pressure. When you're young, it takes away the burden of responsibility and to be left alone to play, it is a huge relief. This is great.''
Lyon coach Remi Garde sees the match as a chance for revenge against Nice following the cup defeat.
He told the club's official website: ``Indeed, we've played against this team in the League Cup and missed. It serves as a reference on what to do and not do.''
However, Garde was quick to play down Puel's return to the Stade de Gerland.
``I am focused on the game that we have to play,'' Garde said when asked about Puel. ``Nice is a team with qualities and that is what concerns me ''