LOSC's American international forward Timothy Weah admits the champions have had a difficult start to their Ligue 1 Uber Eats title defence, but says Jocelyn Gourvennec's side know what they have to do to improve, starting at Saint-Etienne on Saturday evening.
SAINT-ETIENNE - LILLE (kick-off 19:00 GMT on Saturday)
Following an opening draw at Metz and a 4-0 humbling at home to Nice - coached by Lille's title-winning coach Christophe Galtier - Weah said: "We hoped to start differently but it didn't happen. We're all professional here and we know what we need to do at Saint-Etienne in order to play well. We have to ask the right questions of ourselves."
LOSC followed up winning the Ligue 1 title by beating Paris Saint-Germain in Tel Aviv at the start of August to lift the Trophée des Champions in Gourvennec's first match in charge. With the overwhelming majority of the title-winning squad still at the club and Gourvennec preaching continuity, things looked set fair. But LOSC, who had the best defence in the division in 2020-2021, have conceded seven goals in their opening two league games, as many as they let in during their last 12 outings last term.
Weah commented: "Last season is behind us, the Trophée des Champions success as well. We're focused on the current season. It has started badly but everybody is happy to be here and things will get better."
Weah: "There are good vibes"
The 21-year-old former Paris Saint-Germain player has faith in former Guingamp and Bordeaux boss Gourvennec to turn things around: "He's like everybody else in that he's not happy at losing the match, and conceding goals like that. But he's happy to be here. Things haven't changed since Christophe Galtier's departure. We have the same project in training and we train at high intensity. There are good vibes."
After an injury-plagued first season at LOSC, Weah featured 28 times in the league in 2020-2021, scoring three goals. He had his first start of the new league season against Nice, operating on the right side of the attack. Weah explained: "I love running in behind and touching the ball. It's true that the ball didn't come but I'm not alone on the field. I work for the team as well and I'm not egotistical. If the ball doesn't come, then it will go to someone else. The more matches we play, the better we'll play together and we'll have more confidence."
Puel: "We have ambition written all over us"
For the second week running, LOSC take on a former boss, this time Claude Puel, who was in charge of Les Dogues between 2002 and 2008. Saint-Etienne have started the season with draws against Lorient and Lens. Puel said: "We haven't set an objective for our final league position but that doesn't mean we lack ambition. We have ambition written all over us in training and in matches. It doesn't matter who we play, whether it's at home or away, we want to go out there and get the three points."
Puel expects an improved LOSC in Round 3: "They play differently to Lens and we'll need to perform well in different sectors. We need to be capable of adapting to playing against any opposition. The players are conscious that Lille will have a reaction. They're champions of France. Their squad has barely changed and they've just won a trophy by beating PSG."
Saint-Etienne: Green; Maçon, S.Sow (or Nadé), Moukoudi, Kolodziejczak (or Trauco); Mah.Camara (cap.), Neyou, Youssouf (or Gourna-Douath); Hamouma (or Nordin), Khazri, Bouanga.
Lille: Jardim; Celik, Fonte (cap.), Botman, Reinildo; Weah, André, Yazici (or Onana), Bamba; Ikoné (or David), Yilmaz.