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Lille in search of a second wind

French champion, LOSC, against Salzburg in the Champions League, looks up after a failed start to the season.

A feat worthy of David against Goliath. Last May, LOSC became champion of France and overthrew Paris Saint-Germain and its host of stars. Title hero, Christophe Galtier decided to pack up and join Nice during the transfer window. To succeed him, the management relies on Jocelyn Gourvennec, without a post since his mixed return to Guingamp in 2019. A difficult task to take over which materialized by a checkered start to the season. But after a missed start, the Mastiffs seem to have found some bite.

Ignition delay

After snatching a draw in numerical superiority in Metz, as part of the first day of Ligue 1, Lille sank at home, against OGC Nice, a certain Christophe Galtier (0-4). A disillusionment in front of their former coach and in front of their audience, which illustrated the shortcomings of the team in August. A sluggish launch, since it will be necessary to wait for the fourth day of the championship to see the proteges of Jocelyn Gourvennec obtain their first success against Montpellier (2-1). A breath of fresh air – temporary – since the Mastiffs bow in stride in Lorient, but especially in Lens (1-0). A defeat in the Derby du Nord, a first since 2006 for Lille, which placed the coach in an extremely uncomfortable position. But the Mastiffs managed to win (2-1) against Reims and finally followed with a second success full of control in Strasbourg (1-2). A victory which calms Lille, and which gives confidence to the group and to the coach. “It’s a start to the series, we must continue and above all not slack off»Confided Gourvennec after the meeting. A recent improvement, which allows the Mastiffs to climb back to 9th place in Ligue 1, three points off the podium.

Jocelyn Gourvennec, in the shadow of Christophe Galtier

Taking over from Christophe Galtier was not easy. Respected by his players, adored by the supporters, Christophe Galtier left his mark on his time at the club. In order not to upset everything, Gourvennec is part of a policy of continuity. The 4-4-2 of its predecessor is renewed, in order to bring a certain stability to its players. However, the transplant does not take directly, and critics fall on the coach, whistled against Reims.

Despite disappointing first steps, Jocelyn Gourvennec clings to his post, and hopes to ride on the current good momentum. In lack of success in the last gesture, the results of Lille do not always reflect the content offered by the champions of France. Relaunched in the standings, the Mastiffs must start a series in order to meet the objectives set by the club, namely, to qualify for the European Cup.

Create a surprise in the Champions League

Despite a more than sluggish start in the league, Lille showed a much more attractive face on the first day of the Champions League against Wolfsburg. At the Pierre Mauroy stadium, Jocelyn Gourvennec’s men dominated the Germans in all areas of the game, but narrowly missed in the last move (0-0). A one-way game, symbolized by the 16 Lille attempts, without success. Obvious frustration. With Wolfsburg, Salzburg and Sevilla, the Mastiffs are not favorites but can do well in an open group G. Facing Salzburg on Wednesday, Lille will have to be wary of German center forward Karim Adeyemi, a nugget of the Red Bull galaxy. At 19, he totaled 7 goals in 9 league matches and scored his first match with the “Mannschaft” at the beginning of September against Armenia. A certain Erling Haaland had taken advantage of the Salzburg springboard before arousing the envy of the biggest European clubs.


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