Lamouchi: 'Tough to replace Gourcuff'
New Stade Rennais FC boss Sabri Lamouchi admits he has his work cut out to fill the shoes of predecessor Christian Gourcuff.
Lamouchi started a two-year deal with the Breton club on Wednesday, stepping into the position previously held by Gourcuff, who was in his second spell at Rennes, since summer 2016.
After just one win in his opening nine matches of the Ligue 1 Conforama season, Gourcuff had lifted the clouds over Roazhon Park with three successive 1-0 victories as well as a Coupe de la Ligue triumph at Dijon.
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"I'm coming into a bit of a special situation. I'm replacing someone for whom I have a lot of esteem and respect as a man and as a professional. I'm inheriting a team that's winning, which is full of confidence, which is young but has potential," Lamouchi told media at his official unveiling.
"We going to try to get to the heart of the matter, but the project is simple: get the most from the players that we have, give them enthusiasm and the ambition to be able to have fun together and keep the run going. I'm really fortunate to be here."
'Busy but exciting'
Rennes' recent rally under Gourcuff means they have clambered from the lower reaches of the table to the relative safety of tenth place, five points above the bottom three and nine off the top four, synonymous with automatic qualification for European competition next season.
With struggling RC Strasbourg Alsace next up for the Rouge-et-Noir, Lamouchi can be optimistic of maintaining his new club's upswing in fortunes, but with Olympique de Marseille in the Coupe de la Ligue and Paris Saint-Germain and AS Monaco his team's final three opponents of 2017, the former Ivory Coast boss, who took charge of his first training session on Thursday, is taking nothing for granted.
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"I'm not going to fall into that trap [of predicting a league position at the season's end], the priority is to think of the next match," said the 45-year-old former France international midfielder.
"There are eight left this calendar year, three in November and Marseille, PSG and Monaco to finish. It's a busy fixture list but an exciting one. It's part of the job to replace a coach, but it's not easy to replace this one."