New St Etienne manager Claude Puel praised the selfless efforts of his players after a dramatic 1-0 Ligue 1 win over derby rivals Lyon thanks to a late header from Robert Beric.
Only appointed on Friday and taking up his first role since being sacked by Premier League side Leicester, the French coach had been handed a baptism of fire with the Rhone-Alpes showdown.
Lyon had not delivered a Ligue 1 success since mid-August, but came to Stade Geoffroy-Guichard on the back of a 2-0 Champions League win at RB Leipzig.
The visitors thought they had broken the deadlock on the hour, but Houssem Aouar’s effort was ruled out by a tight offside call.
St Etienne goalkeeper Jessy Moulin then produced some good saves before – with the 90 minutes all but up – Ryad Boudebouz’s floated cross was planted into the top corner by Beric as the home fans erupted.
“To produce such a performance against Lyon, with so much solidarity as well as such respect for the tactics and our instructions is great, especially in such a short time,” Puel said at a press conference.
“This victory shows players the self-sacrifice and willingness that they are determined to put in a match.
“I am building something – but this beautiful start must not remain without progress being made.”
Lyon boss Sylvinho, meanwhile, was left to reflect on another largely-promising performance which failed to deliver a positive result.
“We’re obviously disappointed. I have the same feelings as I did after Amiens and Brest,” he said.
“We conceded at the end of the game again, but it’s even more frustrating in a derby.”
Sylvinho told a press conference: “I don’t regret my starting XI. It’s a system that gives me more stability and helps my players.
“However, I’m very concerned about our results. All our defeats come in the same way. I have to find our problems and work on the system.”