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Monaco boss Leonardo Jardim eyeing top three spot in Ligue 1

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Head coach Leonardo Jardim insists Monaco can force their way into Ligue 1's top three - and hopes to begin their climb up the standings with victory in Friday's home clash against Lyon.

Two consecutive league draws before the international break means Monaco are 10th in the standings - five points behind third-placed Caen - after nine rounds of fixtures.

Victory at the Stade Louis II, however, will see them move to within two points of third place ahead of the rest of the weekend fixtures and Jardim insists that his side will not be satisfied with anything other than all three points.

"We will not play for the draw, our philosophy is to seek victory. Of course the podium is possible!" the Portuguese said in quotes published from the club's official Twitter account.

The principality club go into their first league game since the final round of Euro 2016 qualifiers without the services of suspended defenders Andrea Raggi and Ricardo Carvalho.

Jardim conceded that the absence of his first-choice central defensive partnership has caused him something of a selection headache but he is convinced that his youngsters can step into the breach.

"I still do not know who will be fit to play Friday," he said. "Raggi and Carvalho will be suspended. We have to find solutions in defence.

"We will seek options to face a very strong Lyon team. This will be an important game between two quality teams.

"We are used to adapting to a very dense schedule. We will count also on the youth of the CFA (academy) to overcome the absences and reinforce the group facing Lyon."

Jardim will also be unable to call upon defensive midfielder Adama Traore, who suffered a broken ankle in training on Monday and will undergo surgery.

Sixth-placed Lyon, meanwhile, have also been hit by a long-term absentee as 19-year-old forward Aldo Kalulu was ruled out for two months with a left ankle injury on Wednesday.

A statement on the club's website read: "Olympique Lyonnais can confirm that Aldo Kalulu injured his left ankle after receiving a knock in training on Tuesday.

"The U18 international has undergone a battery of tests which reveal a very serious sprain and damaged internal ligament.

"Aldo Kalulu will have his ankle plastered on Thursday and is expected to be sidelined for approximately two months."

Victory for Hubert Fournier's side would see them move up to second in the standings, temporarily at least, ahead of the rest of the weekend's fixtures.


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