Puel takes derby in his stride as St Etienne boss prepares for first match in charge

St Etienne manager Claude Puel is not daunted by the derby fixture against Lyon as he prepares for his first game at the helm of the club.

Puel was appointed on Friday, taking up his first role since being fired from his position as Leicester boss in February.

The Frenchman faces a testing first game with his new squad, who sit second-last in Ligue 1, as they take on long-term rivals Lyon.

“Before any other match, the approach would have been the same,” Puel said ahead of the fixture.

“We met the group earlier with the staff, we went through the essentials. After Sunday’s game we will have time to get to know each other.

“We will not change much from here to Sunday. I want this team to play the derby with a lot of freedom, let it go and not get caught up in new instructions or constraints.

“A derby does not necessarily need tactical or technical elements. It demands solidarity, self-sacrifice and cohesion. We must give the best of ourselves and get the best result possible.”

Lyon boss Sylvinho was reassured by his side’s 2-0 defeat of Leipzig in the Champions League on Wednesday.

The victory was their first in eight matches, but that winning form needs to extend to Ligue 1 fixtures if they are to end their six-game winless league streak.

“We needed a victory like that,” Sylvinho said of the Leipzig win.

“It was a complicated and technical opponent and I am happy with what we showed on the field. ”

Despite the historic rivalry between the two clubs, the Brazilian is not distracted by the derby subplot, saying: “A derby is a derby. I know it’s two tough matches and you have to win.

“Most of my players have already played this fixture. They know what it represents. We will build our team until Sunday to better prepare for this match. We are going there to play football. ”

Midfielder Lucas Tousart was less dismissive of the significance of the fixture, saying: “The Derby is two clubs with a strong identity. When I was little, I watched it on TV. This is a game apart for all Lyonnais and Stephanois, but also for all of France.

“A derby is above all a state of mind. Whoever wins the duels will win. You have to mark your territory.

“I have had the chance to play several. There, you have to face a hostile atmosphere. We like that. It is a match that must be approached in a different way than others.

“Those who arrived this summer do not necessarily know what to expect. It’s up to us to get them the message and tell them it’s a game you must not lose. We must prepare them.”

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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