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Ligue 1 Show

Haise: 'Lens must keep alert'

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RC Lens have made a flying start to life back in Ligue 1 Uber Eats, but they have to "be alert" not to let standards slip ahead of Sunday's derby with LOSC Lille, coach Franck Haise has told The Ligue 1 Show.

Lens face their northern rivals on Sunday seeking a first Derby du Nord  victory at the home of their neighbours since 2003. The Blood-and-Gold are optimistic as they have made their best start to a top-flight campaign for 19 years and the 2001/02 season when they finished runners-up.

 

But Haise is not getting carried away.

 

"Of course we have to stay alert the whole time, usually we'd on alert if we were losing, but you always have to be alert when things are going well, and we win games. I'm ready though, and I'm not alone, ready for more difficult periods, the team know it, the staff know it, we'll have difficult periods ahead!" he explained.

 

"We've just come up, and we know that the last two seasons RC Lens have spent in Ligue 1, they've gone straight back down, so our mission is clear. Mine, my coaching team and my players' mission is to make sure the club is still in Ligue 1 next season!

"It's not a burden! Of course there is pressure though! There always is! But I don't get up in the morning thinking about the pressure I'm under, I think about how we can do things better, how the group can become stronger, how the team can play better! That's what I think about, and so do the eight other members of my coaching team."

 

After winning promotion, Lens were busy in the transfer market, and their hard work paid off with nine of their 10 goals so far scored by new arrivals.

 

Joint-leading scorer Ignatius Ganago — picked up from OGC Nice during the transfer window — will miss the match due to injury as will another new face, Seko Fofana.

 

But the squad has gelled quickly, and could still spring a surprise at the Stade Pierre Mauroy.

 

"I think the club did some smart moves, they try to keep almost all the squad from last season, they just brought in some players who can help the team to reach their targets for the season," explained Massadio Haidara. 

 

"I think the players have adapted well, everyone is happy to be here, everyone tries to enjoy it together and we have the good squad and good atmosphere with everything, so things are going very well for us!"

 

>> MATCH PREVIEW: Derby day special for Kakuta

 

>> LEGENDS: The Derby du Nord