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By ESPN Staff

St Etienne wary ahead of Lyon derby

Christophe Galtier has warned his St Etienne team not to underestimate struggling Lyon in Saturday's derby du Rhone.

Les Verts moved to the top of Ligue 1 for the first time in 29 years last weekend and will be full of confidence when they make the short trip to Stade Gerland at the weekend to meet a club in turmoil.

Lyon, one of the pre-season title favourites, have won just one of their opening six Ligue 1 games and currently sit on the fringes of the relegation zone, with the pressure starting to mount on coach Claude Puel. All the indicators point to an away win but Galtier is wary of underestimating Les Gones.

Galtier, who worked as an assistant to Alain Perrin at Lyon in the 2007-08 season, said: "The derby will be very, very special. I have also been on the other side. I know how it works.

"I do not believe we will see the Lyon of last week [when they lost 2-0 to Bordeaux]. Lyon will not continue to be 17th in the championship. We will have to use our strengths and avoid being caught up in the euphoria that accompanies us at this time.''

The visitors will hope to have leading scorer Dimitri Payet back after he missed the midweek Coupe de la Ligue win over Nice through injury.

Second-placed Toulouse slipped up in the Coupe, going out 2-1 to second division Boulogne after extra time. But boss Alain Casanova was quick to retrain his players' minds on to Sunday's home game with Lille.

He said: "This defeat does not change anything regarding the league. They are two different competitions. In the league, we will have to bounce back.

"But we have paid dearly for this game. We put in a lot of effort - some players were struggling to finish the match. And we have also had Franck Tabanou sent off and we will lose him against Lille.''

Sunday's other games see Brest meet Valenciennes and Paris St Germain go to struggling Lens. Bordeaux meet Caen after a morale-boosting win over Nancy in midweek. But coach Jean Tigana maintains the league remains the priority.

"The priority for me is the championship, no ambiguity,'' he said. "We have played two good games, nothing more. I will wait for Saturday to say whether we have momentum or not.''

Defending champions Marseille have made a steady if unspectacular start, and they will hope to kick on against a Sochaux side who suffered a surprise defeat to Bastia in the Coupe de la Ligue in midweek.

Another side to fall victim to a giantkilling act were Rennes, who lost to Guingamp. They will hope to bounce back at Nice. Elsewhere, struggling Auxerre host Nancy, Monaco go to Lorient and pointless Arles will look to get off the mark at Montpellier.


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