Girard keeping expectations in check at Nantes

Nantes (France) (AFP) – New Nantes coach Rene Girard said on Tuesday that his target at the club is just to bring them consistent top-10 finishes in Ligue 1, after taking over from Michel Der Zakarian.

The Canaries finished down in 14th place under Armenian-born Der Zakarian after a 4-0 thrashing at champions Paris Saint-Germain in their final match of the season on Saturday.

Eight-time French champions Nantes have not won a major trophy since their last Ligue 1 title in 2001 and have not appeared in Europe in 14 years.

Former Bordeaux midfielder Girard stunned French football in 2012 when he led his Montpellier side to an unlikely title triumph, but he insists that he has lower ambitions at the Stade de la Beaujoire.

“We have to work hard to move forward, to sustain the club in the top 10,” he said in a press conference.

“There are two or three teams who are very strong financially. And there is a second set of clubs. I hope that we will be part of this pack behind the big three, that would be ideal.”

Before his time in charge of Montpellier, Girard spent six years coaching France national youth teams, and he says he will stick with the young players already at his disposal at Nantes.

“I know there are good young players here. Some have played and showed their potential, so we will support them,” he added.

“We won’t go out and just buy new players for the sake of it.”

Girard, 62, last coached Lille before being replaced by Herve Renard in 2015.

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