Montpellier vs. Olympique Marseille  0 - 1

Article

Girard feeling the heat at Montpellier

25 August 2012 19:04

Defending Ligue 1 champions Montpellier will be without several key players due to injury when they take on Marseille on Sunday.

The pressure is already on Rene Girard's men after a 2-1 loss to Lorient last weekend.

Marseille have registered two wins this season, but the Montpellier manager does not believe there is any reason to panic just yet.

"There's no fear," he said.

"We had a difficult start to the season, and you start asking me all these questions after just our second match. If we start being anxious after our second game, what will happen after 35 games?"

Girard talked up the rivalry between the two sides, describing the game as 'huge'.

"This is a great derby. It is always a special event with a lot of passion," he said.

"It will be a very closely-fought game as always. That's what football is about."

Girard also fiercely denied that his side are shying away from their mantle as champions and the notoriety this brings.

"Being champions has changed many things. But for ***** sake we will not complain about it," he said.

"We fought hard to be where we are. The challenge is bigger than last year and we must accept it."

Article

Girard calm amid slow start

24 August 2012 19:19

Montpellier coach Rene Girard has argued his side have 'no reason to panic' heading into Sunday's clash with Marseille.

Girard's side were defeated 2-1 away to Lorient last weekend, following on from a 1-1 draw at home to Toulouse in their opening match of the season.

But Montpellier's boss has rejected suggestions the reigning champions are in crisis.

"There's no fear, there's no reason to panic," Girard said.

"We had a difficult start to the season and you start asking me all these questions after just our second match?

"If we start being anxious after our second game, what will happen after 35 games?"

Montpellier have had to do without Younes Belhanda for the majority of their opening two games due to an ankle injury, while new midfield signing Anthony Mounier has been struggling with a thigh issue.

But Girard believes his team's injury problems have not received as much coverage as they have deserved.

"We have a couple of injury concerns, as well as some suspensions," Girard said.

"It seems to me that you (the media) all cry if PSG have six injured players.

"That's exactly the same number for us and I don't hear you talking about it."

Last season's league triumph was Montpellier's first ever French title, prompting accusations the defending champions' poor start is because they have struggled in the spotlight.

Girard has denied his players cannot deal with the extra pressure.

"When we are going to a new stadium, we are presented as the reigning champions," Girard said.

"It will be the case in Marseille next Sunday; it was the case against Lorient last week.

"Of course, being champions has changed many things but ... we will not complain about that."

Marseille counterpart Elie Baup is expecting a backlash from the reigning champions, who he says are playing well despite their slow start to the campaign.

"The results are one thing, but the team is already formed and settled," Baup said.

"Moreover, I think guys like Belhanda will be back. Some other players will probably be back in the team after having missed the first matches.

"Montpellier will be back to their full potential and if you look their matches, they were not bad even, if the points were not there."

Ligue 1 table

# Team MP D P
1 38 +46 83
2 38 +6 71
3 38 +23 67
4 38 +11 64
5 38 +28 63
6 38 +19 62
7 38 +6 55
8 38 -1 53
9 38 +3 52
10 38 +2 51
11 38 -4 48
12 38 -16 47
13 38 -11 46
14 38 -9 43
15 38 -16 41
16 38 -7 40
17 38 -12 40
18 38 -20 38
19 38 -18 37
20 38 -30 29