Following the end of their 13-match unbeaten run in all competitions, Rennes coach Bruno Genesio has vowed his side will attempt to start another sequence at Saint-Etienne on Sunday lunchtime.
SAINT-ETIENNE – RENNES
Genesio, sent off by Stéphanie Frappart, late in the 2-1 home loss to Lille on Wednesday night, saw his side slip from second at kick-off to third ahead of the Round 17 action. The former Olympique Lyonnais boss said: “We knew the run would come to an end one day or another. The most important thing is to react in the right way and to start another run at Saint-Etienne. Even if we were lacking certain things in our play, I have no criticism to make of my players when it comes to their spirit and attitude. That’s football. Sometimes things don’t go your way. We mustn’t forget all that we have done over the last two and a half months.”
Rennes have traditionally struggled against the title holders and the defeat to Lille was their 10th loss in 14 matches against the reigning Ligue 1 Uber Eats champions. Genesio felt it could have been different, commenting: “We started well and then we got everything a bit mixed up. We wanted to do things too quickly and that unbalanced us, favouring Lille’s fast attacks. We can’t win every game 4-1 or 3-0 and we need to learn how to be patient and win games 1-0 as we did against Strasbourg.”
Benjamin Bourigeaud scored Rennes’ consolation goal late on and the midfielder denied the club’s busy fixture list was to blame. As well as climbing into the upper echelons of the Ligue 1 table, Rennes have made it out of their UEFA Europa Conference League group, guaranteed to finish top of the section, ahead of English Premier League giants Tottenham.
Bourigeaud: "We love playing matches"
Bourigeaud commented: “We love playing matches and we’re ready to compete every three or four days. I don’t think what happened against Lille was a physical problem. We weren’t as good technically as usual and we didn’t weigh as heavily as usual. We’ll analyse things with the coach this week, recover well and bounce back. When you have an off-day then the most important thing is the next match and that’s what’s important to us today.”
Bottom of the table Saint-Etienne fell 1-0 to Brest on Wednesday, the Brittany club’s fifth consecutive league win secured by Romain Faivre’s 64th-minute penalty. Les Verts coach Claude Puel was frustrated to take nothing from the long trip, meaning Saint-Etienne have only 12 points, their lowest total after 16 Ligue 1 matches since the introduction of three points for a win in 1994-1995.
Puel said: “We deserved to equalise. We hit the woodwork twice but the result was a defeat. We can’t go backwards in time even if it was incredibly frustrating and now we must prepare for an important match. They sat back against us despite being at home and we were fine until the 60th minute. It’s difficult as we lost a match we didn’t deserve to lose.”
Saint-Etienne: (to follow)
Rennes: (to follow)