LOSC Lille phenomenon Victor Osimhen has a lot of room for improvement says his boss Christophe Galtier with Stade de Reims in the Nigerian striker's sights on Sunday.
Stade de Reims - LOSC Lille
Osimhen's summer arrival from Charleroi has been followed by a spectacular introduction to French football with the 20-year-old grabbing four goals in his first three Ligue 1 Conforama appearances. It is a feat that only Mario Balotelli and Zlatan Ibrahimovic have matched in the last 15 seasons.
After a double against FC Nantes on the opening day of the season, Osimhen repeated the feat in the rearranged Week 3 fixture against AS Saint-Étienne on Wednesday to claim first place among the French top-flight's leading scorers, leaving established stars like Memphis Depay and Moussa Dembélé behind him.
Osimhen's match-turning performance was all the more notable as he had started the game on the bench, only coming on to replace an injured Loïc Rémy inside the opening 20 minutes.
WATCH: Osimhen stars against Saint-Étienne
"He can still get a lot better; he's only 20 years old. I had decided not to start him because we're going to play a series of matches and he's going to play twice with his national team during the break. He wasn't upset about not starting; he just came on and did his job, proving to be a decisive figure in the match, and not just because of his goals," said Galtier after the win over his former club.
"I had made the choice not to start him, despite his magnificent start to the league, especially against Nantes, because after the game against Reims, Victor will go off for two games with his country. I wanted to start Loïc Rémy to keep the squad on its toes, because there are players who want to play. I was very happy with Loïc in pre-season, unfrotunately he got injured very quickly.
"That's the advantage of having a squad like ours, with Victor who came on without any doubts. He had understood my decision to put him on the bench, and he came on in order to have an impact on the game. I'm talking about goals, of course, but also about what I expect from a forward: intensity, always going forward."
WATCH: Reims beaten at Brest
Reims, however, have gone backwards since beating Olympique de Marseille on the opening day of the season. A goalless draw at home to RC Strasbourg Alsace was then followed by a 1-0 defeat in Brest last weekend that leaves David Guion's men with just three wins in their last 12 league games, a series in which they have failed to find the net six times.
"Overall I thought we controlled the game. I thought we were more enterprising than Brest, who sought to play on the counter-attack," said Guion, whose team were undone by Gaëtan Charbonnier's 86th-minute strike in Brittany. "hey raised their game in the second half. The most disappointing aspect is that we were not able to score when we were on top, and also conceding a goal three minutes from the end away from home. It is always very painful. If we were not able to win, we needed to at least make sure we left with a point."
Reims: Rajkovic; Foket, Disasi, Abdelhamid, Konan; Chavalerin, Romao (c); Oudin, Dingomé, Doumbia; Dia
Lille: Maignan; Çelik, Fonte (c), Gabriel, Bradaric; André, Sanches; Ikoné, Yazici, Bamba; Osimhen