Renato Sanches, Lille, Brest

'Gritty' Renato Sanches ready for Lille-Brest?

Publish on 21/10/2021 at 09:10


Jocelyn Gourvennec will be counting on Renato Sanches's dynamic midfield performances as LOSC look to kickstart their season at home to Stade Brestois 29 on Saturday.

LOSC - Stade Brestois 29


- kick-off: 20:00 GMT




Last season's surprise Ligue 1 Uber Eats champions begin the day in 11th, 13 points of Paris Saint-Germain's league-setting pace and licking their wounds from last Saturday's 1-0 loss to promoted Clermont Foot 63.


Les Dogues kept their UEFA Champions League Group G hopes alive in a battling 0-0 draw with Sevilla on Wednesday - goalkeeper Ivo Grbic shining in particular - and Gourvennec doesn't expect things to be much easier against Brest, despite the visitors' basement-dwelling league position.




"When we go back to Ligue 1 after the Champions League, we have to re-mobilise," explained the 49-year-old, who spent a net six years at Brest's Breton rivals Stade Rennais FC as a player. "We'll play everything at 300 per cent and we'll take stock after."


Watch: Highlights of Lille's 1-0 loss at Clermont



Sanches's minutes were managed in midweek, with Jonathan Ikoné replacing him with half an hour to go at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy. Used variously from right-midfield and more centrally behind a main striker, the Portuguese is nonetheless becoming increasingly important to the team.


"When we play every three or four days we give ourselves time to decide on the first 11," Gourvennec continued. "He's recovering quickly, and we know that with the repetition of matches he'll simply get better and better. He has a lot of energy and when he's on his game, he's communicative and transmits his grit."


Botman missing


Dutch centre-back Sven Botman is Lille's only certain injury absentee with a groin problem, but Angel Gomes and Gabriel Gudmundsson are among those likely to rotate into the side with a meeting with PSG coming six days after the Brest game.


Brest are 19th in the table on five points, with just one more than rock-bottom AS Saint-Étienne, but they were undefeated against Lille last season and there were shoots of promise in their 1-1 draw with Stade de Reims last Sunday.


Watch: Highlights of Brest's 1-1 draw with Reims



Franck Honorat cancelled out Wout Faes's goal in the 74th minute, and Gourvennec's opposite number Michel der Zakarian though les Pirates should have plundered even more from the game.


'More intensity'


"We had a poor first half," he said. "But then we were much more intense, ran hard and pressed. Reims started to lose the ball and stopped cutting through us. There was a way to win but we needed more accurate deliveries, more cutting edge."


Brest are without two players who might have provided that against Lille. Inter Milan-owned midfielder Lucien Agoumé has a calf injury whilst former Rennes winger Romain Del Castillo has a groin strain.


Cornerstones of last season's successful survival campaign, Paul Lasne and Christophe Hérelle are yet to kick a ball in 2021/22 dues to knee injuries which require surgery.


Possible teams


LOSC: Grbic; Çelik, Fonte, Djalo, Gudmundsson; Weah, André, Onana, Gomes; Sanches; Yilmaz


Brest: Bizot; Pierre-Gabriel, Chardonnet, Brassier, Duverne; Belkebla, Mananga; Honorat, Faivre, Cardona; Mounié