Ligue 1 preview

Puel demands focus after Madrid loss

March 17, 2011

Lyon coach Claude Puel is hoping his players do not dwell on their Champions League exit and quickly retrain their focus towards the Ligue 1 title race.

Claude Puel is hoping to rescue Lyon's season with domestic glory
GettyImagesClaude Puel is hoping to rescue Lyon's season with domestic glory

Les Gones' European adventure came to an end on Wednesday night with a 3-0 defeat at Real Madrid which saw them exit the tournament at the last-16 stage 4-1 on aggregate.

Lyon were not at their best at the Bernabeu but Puel is demanding full attention is now switched back to domestic matters, starting with Saturday's clash with Rennes, which pits third against second in Ligue 1.

"We have to get back to the league because the match against Rennes comes around very quickly,'' he said. "I hope this result won't dent the spirits too long.

"In the first leg we deserved better but not in the second, we did not play to our best level. We need to regroup quickly for the championship.''

Lyon are a point behind Rennes, who themselves trail leaders Lille by three points. Lille go to mid-table Brest on Saturday with star midfielder Eden Hazard demanding an improvement on their recent performances.

He said: "The other teams are putting us under a lot of pressure and we can't afford to slip up at any point. We have been a bit lucky recently. We have to take inspiration from that and play better, because we know we can.''

Defending champions Marseille sit in fourth and this Sunday host bitter rivals Paris St Germain, whose title challenge has faltered in recent weeks.

At the bottom, Arles have all but gone. They face a Caen side who could do with a win to improve their own survival prospects while second-bottom Lens go to Montpellier and Auxerre, who complete the relegation places, host Sochaux.

Monaco are a place outside the bottom three and meet a Nancy side boosted by last weekend's victory over Caen. Nancy boss Pablo Correa has been impressed by their recent form.

"Our last two results, with four points and none conceded is encouraging,'' he said. "These two games prove that we are capable. I don't know if we have found the right tactics but we look to have a good balance.''

Elsewhere, Lorient meet St Etienne, Toulouse host Nice and Bordeaux visit Valenciennes.