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Dec 10, 2012

Garde cools Lyon title talk

Remi Garde has warned his Lyon squad they should not get carried away despite Sunday's win against neighbours Saint-Etienne taking them five points clear at the top.

Michel Bastos' 65th-minute free-kick escaped the grasp of home goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier to decide the 105th Rhone derby in Lyon's favour, and with Marseille losing earlier in the day, OL now have a healthy buffer between themselves and the chasing pack.

However, as this Wednesday's home game against bottom side Nancy is followed by a trip to the capital to face second-placed Paris Saint-Germain, Garde, 46, remains circumspect about his team's chances of a first Ligue 1 title since 2008. "It's always good when you pick up three points, but we have to build on that on Wednesday," Garde said. "The way I see things, we still haven't created a gap in the table. We're not going to get carried away, because if we don't follow this up, it'll have all been for nothing.

"We're not concerned about being 'autumn champions'. It's an honorific title, and not very important. What is important is to know why we're making progress, and why our opponents aren't able to pose us as many problems as they did before."

Lyon's victory at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, where they are now unbeaten in 14 visits in all competitions, was all the more impressive given Garde twice had to re-jig his side; Clement Grenier was removed after suffering an injuti in the opening minutes, while ex-Saint-Etienne man Mouhamadou Dabo was dismissed ten minutes after the break - yet Lyon still ended the hosts' 13-game unbeaten run in competitive fixtures.

"A victory here, at Geoffroy-Guichard, always fills you with joy," Garde said. "There's also the satisfaction of having overcome the test provided by the red card. The players showed a lot of courage and self-sacrifice. The squad is very strong mentally."

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