Girondins de Bordeaux play host to Montpellier Hérault SC on Tuesday in their first match since manager Ricardo Gomes' departure from the six-time champions.
Girondins de Bordeaux - Montpellier Hérault SC
The Brazilian had only been appointed back in September, returning for a second spell at the club he previously coached for two years between 2005 and 2007. This time it was in the role of general manager, but the subsequent arrival of new American owners at the Matmut Atlantique ultimately did not help him - with Bordeaux languishing in the bottom half of the Ligue 1 Conforama table and out of all cup competitions, they decided to call time on Ricardo's mission.
"It is hard to handle when you see friends, extraordinary people, leaving," said Éric Bedouet, who remains as coach for now but is set to make way when a new name is appointed in the coming days.
Watch: Bordeaux beaten at Nantes in Ricardo's final game
"He is a great man, in football and in life, and I thank him. It has been difficult because he has not had much time, without being able to have players chosen for him."
Results have simply not been good enough, though, with Bordeaux winning just one of their last seven games in all competitions, a run that includes a 3-2 defeat at RC Strasbourg Alsace in the Coupe de la Ligue semi-finals.
They have taken just four of the last 18 points available in the league and lie 13th in the table, with a 1-0 defeat at FC Nantes in their last outing proving the final straw.
"We absolutely have to show a reaction now. The players need to show the desire and a rage to go out and win at home," added Bedouet.
A win would move them to within three points of Montpellier, who can themselves climb up to seventh with an away victory at the Matmut Atlantique in a game that was initially due to be played last Friday before being postponed. Their European push faded during February, which they traversed without a win in five matches. The 2012 champions have lost their last two games, conceding nine goals in the process.
"We have won just two matches in three months, but we have not been cut off," said Montpellier coach Michel Der Zakarian, who is without injured duo Rubén Águilar and Pedro Mendes here. "We are heading towards the final straight and we have no time to feel sorry for ourselves over what has happened."
Bordeaux: Costil (c); Palencia, Koundé, Pablo, Sabaly; Plasil, Otavio; Kamano, Adli, De Préville; Briand
Montpellier: Lecomte; Congré, Hilton (c), Cozza; Suárez, Skhiri, Le Tallec, Lasne; Mollet; Laborde, Delort