Paris (AFP) – Reigning French champions Lille suffered a 1-0 loss away to promoted Clermont on Saturday, with the club president accusing the team of “individual and collective poverty” for a performance which followed a run of three wins.
Vital N’Simba drilled in from 20 metres just after the half-hour to earn Clermont a first victory in eight matches and deny Lille the chance to break into the top three.
Lille president Olivier Letang had harsh words after watching his champions slip to a fourth league defeat in 10 matches under new coach Jocelyn Gourvennec.
“With individual and collective poverty you can’t hope to compete at the top level,” he said with Lille’s title defence looking compromised as they sit eighth, 13 points behind runaway leaders Paris Saint-Germain.
“We hit the bottom, we were really bad,” he said
Lille struggled in the absence of the suspended Burak Yilmaz, with top scorer Jonathan David limited to 20 minutes off the bench after returning late from World Cup qualifying duty with Canada.
Portugal defender Jose Fonte had the best chance for Lille in the closing stages but shot straight at Clermont goalkeeper Arthur Desmas.
Gourvennec said defeat had been a shock that could provide a wake up call.
“Well done to them, they played it like a cup game.”
“Now we have to turn this general disappointment from the players and the president into a revolt,” he said.
Kylian Mbappe converted a soft late VAR penalty award to give a PSG side missing Lionel Messi and Neymar a 2-1 win over Angers on Friday.
Monaco are seeking a fourth straight victory later on Saturday when they visit Lyon, while Jorge Sampaoli’s Marseille will hope to bounce back from successive losses when they host Lorient on Sunday.
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