claude puel 311.
(photo credit: AP)
There will be far more on the line than just three Champions League for
Olympique Lyon coach Claude Puel when he guides his team against Hapoel Tel Aviv
at Bloomfield Stadium on Wednesday night.
As disappointing as Hapoel’s
start to the Premier League season has been, Lyon would happily swap places with
the Israeli champs. Tel Aviv has just four points from its first four league
matches following Saturday’s shock 4-2 home defeat to Ironi Kiryat Shmona.
However, Lyon is stuck on five points from seven matches and is placed in
second-to-last position in the French Ligue 1 after a 1-0 defeat to fierce
rivals Saint-Etienne on Saturday.
Lyon, French champion for seven
straight years between 2002 and 2008, spent about 30 million euros recruiting
top talent over the summer – including France playmaker Yoann Gourcuff – and
yet, the club has won just one of seven matches, putting coach Puel under
Nevertheless, Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas said he
has no intention of sacking Puel, who has failed to win a trophy since joining
the club in 2008, although Hapoel could make it difficult for Aulas to live up
to his word if the Reds win at Bloomfield on Wednesday.
“We’re not going
to rush into changing everything on a whim,” Aulas told the Telefoot television
program on Sunday.
“We’ve recruited well over the last two years and
we’ll examine things after 10 matches in the championship and three in the
Champions League. We’ll then have a very precise idea of what’s going to
Puel still has faith in his and his team’s abilities, telling
reporters, “I am the right man for the situation. I am not going to
Dimitri Payet’s second-half free kick was enough to give French
league leader Saint-Etienne a 1-0 away win at Lyon on Saturday and intensify the
pressure on the beleaguered Puel.
The 100th local derby between the teams
was settled by another moment of magic from Payet, who has had a stunning start
to the season with seven league goals in as many games to give Saint-Etienne
bragging rights over Lyon after 15 years of misery.
tops the league for the first time since 1982 with 16 points.
in the Israeli Premier League, Hapoel Ramat Gan climbed out of the bottom of the
standings for the first time this season on Sunday, defeating Hapoel Acre
Ramat Gan, which began its campaign with a four point deduction for
last season’s financial irregularities, claimed its first win of the season
thanks to goals from its Bulgarian recruits Dimitar Telkiyski (47) and Krum
Bibishkov (58, 62), with Roei Dayan’s brace (50, 83) not enough for Acre to
snatch a point on the road.
Maccabi Tel Aviv visits Ashdod SC in the
final game of matchday 4 on Monday night.AP contributed to this report.