St Etienne boss has two games to save job
St Etienne coach Laurent Roussey has two games to save his job as a crisis looms at his once-great club.
Joint presidents Roland Romeyer and Bernard Caiazzo have given Roussey two more matches, against Rosenborg in the UEFA Cup on Thursday (1945 GMT) and at home to Stade Rennes in Ligue 1 on Sunday (1600 GMT), to stop the rot.
The ultimatum is common knowledge after a statement by the two men was posted on the club's website (www.asse.fr).
"We're not stupid and we can read," midfielder Geoffrey Dernis told reporters. "We all know what's going on and it's not easy. The toughest part will be not to be afraid when we go on to the pitch."
St Etienne, back in Europe for the first time in 26 years after finishing fifth in Ligue 1 last season, thought this campaign would be fun.
The club, who won a record 10 French titles, have, however, lost their last four league games.
Roussey can count on the support of striker Bafetimbi Gomis.
"Laurent Roussey is a very good coach," Gomis told reporters. "He's the one who brought us back to Europe. Now we have to fight, not only for him but also for our pride and for the fans."
Popular all over France since their run to the 1976 European Cup final sparked soccer mania, Les Verts (the Greens), are no ordinary club.
The team once graced by Michel Platini were famous for years for regularly beating neighbours and arch-rivals Olympique Lyon.
Times have changed, however, and St Etienne have not won anything since their 10th league title in 1981 while Lyon, now the measure of all things in France, have captured the last seven Ligue 1 crowns.
Lyon, four points clear of Olympique Marseille at the top and 17 points ahead of 17th-placed St Etienne, will visit Monaco on Saturday (1800).
Marseille, St Etienne's rivals for supremacy in the 1970s, boosted their morale by crushing PSV Eindhoven 3-0 in the Champions League on Tuesday, ahead of their visit to Grenoble on Saturday (1800).
Girondins Bordeaux, in third six points off the pace, will welcome Auxerre on Saturday (1800) after keeping their European hopes alive with a 2-1 midweek Champions League win at CFR Cluj.