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Strasbourg boss Thierry Laurey is banking on his side’s team spirit to lift the Alsace club out of the relegation zone. Strasbourg host Rennes on Friday evening.


(kick-off at 21:00 CET on Friday)

Strasbourg have won two games and lost nine this Ligue 1 Uber Eats season and only Dijon sit below the 2019 Coupe de la Ligue winners in the table. Laurey admitted: “If we’re in this position, it’s because we’ve shown weaknesses at times. It’s not only because we’ve been short of luck. We need to think collectively, about the team, and about getting results.”

The task will not be easy on Friday evening against one of the division’s Champions League representatives, even if Rennes have lost three of their last four league matches and are yet to record a maiden Champions League success. Laurey is looking for a reaction from his players following three consecutive single-goal losses to Reims, Marseille and Montpellier, the latter in a 4-3 thriller away last Sunday.

“The right spirit”

The coach said: “The lads, I think, have the right spirit. We need to support each other, encourage each other and lift each other up. We need to start climbing the table and progressively get our confidence back. We need to go on a run, that’s for certain. We’re getting closer and closer to what we want but there’s always a grain of sand that ends up making the machine stop working. We need to cut out those little details that mean things don’t go in the right direction.”

Strasbourg will likely again be without Ghanaian international defender Alexandre Djiku, with the game also probably coming too soon for goalkeeper Bingourou Kamara. Japanese veteran Eiji Kawashima is set to again deputise for Kamara and the 37-year-old is keen to make up for shipping four goals at Montpellier.

Kawashima said: “Conceding goals is always a pain for a goalkeeper. It’s a position where you need to make the difference. If you manage to keep a clean sheet, then your team always has the chance of scoring in order to win the game. Even if individual mistakes are made, we need to stick together. Mistakes happen, and we need to be there in order to help team-mates recover from them.

“Everyone has to take on their share of the responsibility and we need to improve the situation. Even if Rennes are not getting as good results at the moment, they remain a very good team in our league. They have players of great technical quality and full-backs who bring dynamism to the party.”

Stéphan: “Need to get the counters turning in the league”

Speaking after Rennes’ 2-1 home Champions League loss to Chelsea on Tuesday evening, coach Julien Stéphan commented: “We only have 72 hours before the next match at Strasbourg. We need to digest things and talk a lot with the players in order to help them get over this and help them have that positivity in their head that they need. We put in a great performance against Chelsea, a great match collectively. The trip to Krasnodar will be important and might decide whether we qualify for the Europa League. We know the importance of the match but I have Strasbourg in my head and the necessity to get the counters turning in the league.”