Despite Saint-Etienne sitting bottom of the table and still to win this season, Les Verts boss Claude Puel insists there's no pressure as his side prepare to host high-flying Angers on Friday evening.
SAINT-ETIENNE - ANGERS (kick-off at 19:00 GMT)
A failure to win against Angers would see Saint-Etienne equal their worst-ever Ligue 1 winless run of 13 games posted between July and September 1988. Appointed in October 2019, Puel is taking a lot of flak from supporters groups, exacerbated by the 5-1 loss at Strasbourg in Round 10.
Puel, 60, commented in the pre-match press conference: "I think the supporters will get behind their team and that's the most important thing. We're at home and we must impose pressure on our opponents and not have an atmosphere that undermines our team. For me there's no pressure. I'm entirely focused on what we have to do and how to get the team to perform."
10-time French champions Saint-Etienne kick off Round 11 with only four points from 10 outings and four points back from 17th-placed Bordeaux. Puel added: "The players won't go out to fight for their coach but for their club and also because they want to get out of the situation. I don't have the habit of putting myself forward. I want to give everything for my coaching staff and for my team. There's an environment that means there's a lot of fake news out there about my personal situation."
After suffering concussion before half-time against Strasbourg, goalkeeper Etienne Green will miss the match with Stefan Bajic, who replaced Green against the Alsace club, set to start. Zaydou Youssouf, sent off against Strasbourg, is suspended and Miguel Trauco (muscular) is out, with fellow defender Timothée Kolodziejczak (dead leg sustained in the incident that saw Green concussed) set to be absent as well.
Angers were frustrated in Round 10 as they scored the opening goal at the Parc des Princes only to lose 2-1 to Ligue 1 Uber Eats leaders Paris Saint-Germain. Pascal Garribian, in charge of French referees, admitted this week that the winning penalty converted by Kylian Mbappé shouldn't have been awarded as centre-half Romain Thomas had been fouled by Mauro Icardi in the build-up.
Baticle: "Focus on the future"
Angers coach Gérald Baticle said: "It's always good to own up to mistakes having been made. It was an avoidable error and my players asked the referee to look a few second back on the video in order to pick up the foul. The match is over. We've decided to focus on the future and put that dossier to bed."
Souleyman Doumbia has recovered from illness early in the week to make the Angers squad. Zinédine Ould Khaled is out through injury and the same goes for Abdoulaye Bamba as Angers try to record their first win at Saint-Etienne since April 1972.
Saint-Etienne: (to follow)
Angers: (to follow)