Laurent Blanc took over at Lyon in October 2022 (JEFF PACHOUD)
Coach Laurent Blanc knows he is under pressure ahead of Sunday’s game at Nice after leading Lyon to their worst start to a Ligue 1 campaign since 1966.
The seven-time French champions lost their season opener at Strasbourg before a humbling 4-1 home defeat by Montpellier last weekend left them bottom of the early table.
Lyon will also be without captain Alexandre Lacazette, who scored against Montpellier, for two matches after his red card for lashing out at Teji Savanier.
“The players but also the coach,” Blanc told Amazon Prime after the game when asked what could change at the club.
Blanc took over at Lyon in October last year but despite some improvements failed to lift the team into Europe as they finished seventh in Ligue 1.
“There are already people who wanted my head a fortnight or three weeks ago. We can only imagine now, with what is happening,” he told a press conference after the Montpellier debacle.
“Of course we lost, but at some point, when we don’t do things at the right time, or we do them late or not at all, in life, you go through it and sometimes you pay the bill. I will pay it, the bill.
“I’m not saying that I’m responsible for nothing but I’m not responsible for everything.”
Lyon, placed under financial restraints from French football management control body the DNCG, have struggled to make an impact in the transfer window, with 30-year-old right-back Clinton Mata’s arrival from Club Brugge for five million euros ($5.4 million) their biggest signing.
“There will be opportunities for young players as Lyon have always done with their successful academy for a long time,” Blanc added.
“But every time OL have won titles, it was not the Lyon youngsters who won them. Yes, they took part but they were supervised by great players.”
– PSG targeting first win –
Reigning champions Paris Saint-Germain will also be hoping for a first win of the season under new coach Luis Enrique when they welcome last term’s runners-up Lens to the Parc des Princes.
Last season’s top two have mustered just three points between them so far.
“I see pressure at this level as a privilege, and if you’re not prepared to put up with that privilege, you’d be better off leaving professional football,” former Barcelona and Spain coach Luis Enrique told the PSG website.
Kylian Mbappe is expected to start after coming on as a substitute in the 1-1 draw with Toulouse after another transfer saga this summer ended with him staying at PSG.
Elsewhere, early pace-setters Monaco are aiming for a third straight win when they visit pointless Nantes on Friday.
Player to watch: Takumi Minamino (Monaco)
The Japanese international managed just one goal in 18 league appearances last season after joining Monaco from Liverpool, but netted twice and created another goal in last week’s 3-0 win over Strasbourg.
The principality club have made a fine start to the campaign with new boss Adi Huetter in the dug-out, scoring seven times in two matches.
“I just feel great. I’ve had very good feelings since pre-season and at the start of the league,” said Minamino.
“We have a new coach and a different style of play. Maybe that’s why my performance is improving.”
11: Years since PSG failed to win any of their first three matches of a Ligue 1 season.
57: Goals in Ligue 1 across the first two weekends, at an average of 3.17 per game.
Fixtures (times GMT)
Nantes v Monaco (1900)
Marseille v Brest (1700), Paris Saint-Germain v Lens (1900)
Rennes v Le Havre (1100), Clermont v Metz, Montpellier v Reims, Strasbourg v Toulouse (all 1300), Lorient v Lille (1505), Nice v Lyon (1845)