Crocodiles coach Bernard Blaquart was thrilled with his side's 3-1 win over Rennes, whose coach Julien Stéphan is aware that chances of a European finish are dwindling.
Tuesday, 9 April, 2019
Nîmes Olympique 3 - 1 Stade Rennais FC
Bernard Blaquart (Nîmes Olympique coach): "I'm proud of my team and I really enjoyed the match. I liked the way we played; we showed great things both individually and collectively. We're still hungry. This was one of our most accomplished performances, with stunning goals from Denis [Bouanga] and Antonin [Bobchon]. Rennes didn't shut the game down - there were spaces to exploit at both ends of the pitch. The only black spot for us was losing [captain] Anthony Briançon to red card. We'll have a new-look defence when we play in Marseille, with out Briançon, Loïck Landre and Sofiane Alakouch, who are both injured, and maybe Hervé Lybohy, who took a big knock."
Julien Stéphan (Stade Rennais FC coach): "After Nîmes' first goal, we got back into the match well, equalising deservedly before half-time. The sending off our our captain Benjamin [André] was a heavy blow for our hopes in the league. With him still playing, we could have gotten a grip on the match, but at ten against ten, we fell to two exceptional goals from Nîmes. Still, we never gave up. We just lacked a bit of power and cutting edge, but I can't fault my players' fighting spirit. Now we need to think about getting back to winning ways against Nice [on Sunday] before we can think about a fifth-place finish."
Tuesday, 5 March, 2019
Girondins de Bordeaux 1-2 Montpellier
Éric Bedouet (Bordeaux coach): "The first half was good. We got back on level terms, we put in effort. We absolutely had to do something against Montpellier, the attitude was good, but there were some little errors that cost us dearly. We already made those kinds of errors against Nantes, and it cost us a draw. We have to work and keep going. It's difficult when you concede five minutes into the second half. We had to dig deep again, the players gave their all, but it wasn't enough. We're disappointed, but we have to put right those mistakes that cost us points."
Michel Der Zakarian (Montpellier coach): "We were clinical. We had a tough first half against a team that caused us problems, that put a lot of intensity into their challenges. Defensively, we stood off them too much. Then, we scored from the only chance we had. We were a lot better in the second half with the ball, we made them run a little more. We defended very well, we were solid, and we showed what we are made of. I had said before the game that we hadn't been cut adrift. We're back in the hunt."
Sunday, 3 March, 2019
Olympique de Marseille 2-0 AS Saint-Etienne
Rudi Garcia (Marseille coach): "I don't know if my starting line-up was the right choice but the team played and we won with 14 players, not 11. For the moment it's all for the benefit of Marseille, having subs pushing to start. But let's be clear, being on the bench does not make you one percent less important. I expect everyone, Dimitri [Payet], Adil [Rami], Luiz [Gustavo], Kevin [Strootman], to know that. We had at least seven chances. We're still five points away from Lyon so it was important not to lose any points. Mario [Balotelli] scored a difficult goal after missing an easy chance, but it's the strength of top scorers not to have doubts. He's a boy with big character and talent, but he's also intelligent."
Jean-Louis Gasset (Saint-Etienne coach): "We deserved to lose given how we played in the first half. We were second-best physically. Balotelli absorbs the pressure and shows the way. He reminds me of [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic, and he scored a goal like he would too. He has won the trust of the fans and man of his teammates will raise their level now as well. We planned to press OM but at no point did we look like scoring. It's not great to lose our place in the table but there are 11 matches to go and we have six home games, and if we only finish fifth, this was the club's goal. I've never spoken about the podium. There may be a miracle but it's unlikely, and that's me being realistic, not unambitious."
EA Guingamp 0-0 FC Nantes
Jocelyn Gourvennec (Guingamp coach): "Give how the match played out this feels like a point gained. We didn't deserve to lose because we had good intentions and moved the ball around well. We were lacking with the final ball and in our finishing and this cost us the win. We defended well and fought for the second balls."
Vahid Halilhodzic (Nantes coach): "It wasn't a great game. We didn't want to lose, especially not 1-0. Before the game, I knew there'd be chances, especially in the second half. We had this chance in the last second of the match. It's a shame. Victory was there for the taking but their 'keeper saved them. Good for Guingamp; too bad for us."
LOSC 1-0 Dijon FCO
Christophe Galtier (LOSC coach): "I'm delighted with the three points because we only played for half a match. We were completely sleeping the first half, but in the second half the players were more reactive and braver. They knew how to play higher and be more dangerous. It was logical that we scored as we pushed Dijon for a while. We had to work hard because we made it hard for ourselves. Lyon have an advantage over us for the Champions League race as they have the personnel, but we're making our own way and we're in front right now. We have to keep winning most of our matches without putting too much pressure on the team."
Antoine Kombouaré (Dijon coach): "Firstly, I'm disappointed with the result because this was not the best Lille we could've played. I'm disappointed with how we played, especially in the second half. We weren't good enough at holding onto possession. We didn't play like a team that wants to stay up. I haven't found the right formula yet but I'll keep looking. We must do better."
OGC Nice 1-1 RC Strasbourg Alsace
Patrick Vieira (Nice coach): "We could've scored more but Strasbourg were well organised. It was difficult to create chances but we defended well and that was our goal. We were solid, tactically, now my responsibility is to get the players to do better in the final third. It was important for us to get back to winning ways. The players really deserve it after four difficult games. We've stayed focused and been rewarded for our hard work."
Thierry Laurey (Strasbourg coach): "We can't blame the pitch. You can't afford to make mistakes against a team like this. We were poor in the first half but picked up in the second. It was better but ultimately not enough. They defended really well and we couldn't do what we wanted to. We made a lot of bad choices and mistakes."
Olympique Lyonnais 5-1 Toulouse FC
Bruno Génésio (Lyon coach): "The result's interesting and shows that the team is progressing and that the players are improving individually. I'm pleased the result and the way it was achieved, the pleasure of seeing the players grow together. It's promising if we keep playing this way. Our movement was good and we put Toulouse in trouble. We stayed focused until the end. It's good to take three point and score five goals in the process. That was a first this season."
Alain Casanova (Toulouse coach): "We were expecting a difficult match. Lyon are very strong. We struggled to defend their players who could play in the channels and between the lines. The second half was difficult. We felt helpless. You could see the difference between two teams who have very different ambitions. We knew it would be difficult to take points off Lyon, I'm more upset about the scoreline. We have to move on quickly because we have an important game against Guingamp up next."
Saturday, 2 March, 2019
SM Caen 1-2 Paris Saint-Germain
Fabien Mercadal (Caen coach): "We're disappointed we couldn't hold onto a result. We've done this before and we need to make progress. We can be quite content with how we played because it was against Paris. We didn't think clearly enough, and we should have finished of the few chances we had better than we did."
Thomas Tuchel (PSG coach): "It's always a big challenge to play and win matches. We prepared very seriously for this game and we had a lot of shots on their goal. February and March are decisive months. Kylian Mbappé showed once again that his game is growing. He scored a penalty and one as a fox in the box. He's destined to finish our attacks, he's an extraordinary player. We're confident [for the Manchester United game on Wednesday]. We won the first leg 2-0 but it's only half-time."
Angers SCO 2-2 AS Monaco
Stéphane Moulin (Angers coach): "I'm satisfied as we were up against a very good opponent and were able to give them a difficult match. We dared to put them under pressure. My only regret is that we had a couple of chances to score a third goal and didn't take them. We played against a team who, if they'd been playing like this since the start of the season, would be in the top three. Overall it was a quality performance. That's why I'm not disappointed, and neither do I want to be.
Leonardo Jardim (Monaco coach): "It's difficult to explain things in football sometimes. After a run of picking up ten points in four games we struggled to keep our concentration, both the players and I, we're in this together. At half-time I told the players that this wasn't in our DNA, that I wanted another attitude with more movement and pace and in the second half they did that and we saved a point."
Stade de Reims 2-2 Amiens SC
David Guion (Reims coach): "We won't win every game. We started well but conceding the penalty slowed us down, and then their second goal stunned us. We needed to reboot at half-time. I asked them to win the second half 2-0 and that's what they did. I'm pleased with the character my players showed."
Christophe Pelissier (Amiens coach): "It's always frustrating to lead 2-0 and not win but that's football. We could've scored a third goal but instead Reims got back into it, which will give them confidence. We've not picked up enough point away from home this year, but we shouldn't forget that Reims have now gone ten games without defeat. Our gameplan was almost perfect. We congratulate Reims for their great season and we'll try to keep ourselves up."