Renato Sanches, Jose Fonte, Lille
Ligue 1 Show

Lille steeled for Derby du Nord battle

Publish on 17/10/2020 at 09:44

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The stakes are high for the first Derby du Nord in nearly five years, and hosts LOSC come into this fierce territorial battle unbeaten, joint top of the table, and with the best defence in the league.

Having kept a second consecutive clean sheet at RC Strasbourg Alsace in the final game before the recent international break, les Dogues' record reads: just two goals conceded from their six outings so far.

 

"We're satisfied with the way things are going, we're not conceding many goals," Lille midfielder Benjamin André explained to the Ligue 1 Show on beIN SPORTS. "The two goals we've conceded, we're upset about, because they came from avoidable set-piece positions. We're working hard anyway, to be able to deliver out on the pitch!"

 

Lille have looked settled in coach Christophe Galtier's 4-4-2 system, with André sitting deep in front of a back four of Zeki Çelik, José Fonte, Sven Botman and Domagoj Bradaric - all backstopped by France international goalkeeper Mike Maignan.

 

Watch: Highlights of LOSC's 3-0 win at Strasbourg

 

 

"It's been the leitmotiv, since the beginning!," explained the 54-year-old Galtier, a former defender who racked up nearly 100 games for LOSC in the late 1980s. "I always insist on us having a strong defensive line and defending and putting in the effort together!"

 

That defensive effort has been a collective one, with Renato Sanches also shining in that 3-0 win at Satrsbourg before the international break, and not just with his goal. The Portuguese won possession back 17 times at the Stade de la Meinau, the best return by any player in a Ligue 1 Uber Eats game in more than two years.

 

Renato Sanches, Lille 

"Renato is a ball of muscles, it's true!," smiled André. "He's strong, he's got stamina, energy, he's a real weapon!"

 

"For him to be able to express himself fully, he has to be physically fit," continued Galtier. "He's been back in full training for a few weeks now, he does everything with the group, so his quality performances are no surprise!"

If the 2016 Golden Boy is on form again on Sunday night, Lille have every chance of dominating the encounter.