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Bagayako expects tough test

Nice striker Mamadou Bagayako is expecting “a fight” when his team face Le Mans on Sunday evening.

With both clubs struggling towards the bottom end of the table, points will be the priority – no matter how they are won.

Nice got a major confidence boost by beating Lyon last weekend, but Bagayako expects an even tougher match against Le Mans.

“I’m expecting a more difficult game,” he told his club’s website.

“Le Mans are in need of points, so they will give 200%. This will be a big fight, and we will need to be as ready as we were last Saturday.”

Bagayako also believes it would be a mistake to assume the win over Lyon shows the club’s early-season problems are behind them.

“I think they are still there,” he said.

“We still need to improve further. Lyon showed us at our best, and we must continue on this path.”

Le Mans’ situation is less encouraging than Nice’s. While Sunday’s hosts have moved up to 14th place after last week’s win, Le Mans are two places off the foot of the table – with only eight points from 10 games.

That has led to increasing pressure on coach Paulo Duarte, but club president Henri Legarda this week insisted he will be given time to turn things around.

“It’s not true he is in danger,” Legarda told Ouest-France.

“I told him he would have time. It’s up to him to make the best choices in his double role as coach and selector.

“Let us have a bit of time. If necessary, I will speak to the players. I am convinced our place in the table at the moment does not correspond with our quality.”

Sat 31 October, 2009
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