Puel has Europe in his sights
Nice boss Claude Puel has talked up his side’s chances of
securing a place in next season’s UEFA Champions League, despite
admitting even he has been surprised by their recent progress.
Former Lyon coach Puel has guided Nice into fourth place in
Ligue 1, just a point and a place behind a Marseille team who
would, as it stands, play in Europe’s elite club competition in the
The 51-year-old initially set a timeframe of four to five years
before Nice could hope to challenge for a place in the Champions
League but he is optimistic they can maintain their unlikely
challenge, starting at St Etienne on Saturday.
L’Equipe: “Early in the season we had a little fun when I
mentioned the target but it is normal to have ambition.
“This season things have been put in place more quickly than
expected but we will not choke.”
He accepts there remains a long way to go this season,
“There are many games to play and a lot of unknowns,” he
“It is not enough to say you are ambitious, you must also prove
it. And as we do not have the financial means we must prove it by
hard work and humility.”
Their ambition will certainly be tested against a St Etienne
side who have yet to lose in 2013.
Les Verts are one of the form teams in France but their
resurgence following a disappointing end to last year has not come
as a surprise to full-back Francois Clerc.
Clerc told the club’s
official website: “Not really because I knew we had a
“To be well-positioned in the table it is imperative to be
consistent and, apart from December, we have always been
“We are on a good run and we want to stay on it for as long as