Lyon coach Remi Garde believes 18th-placed Sochaux could prove difficult opponents when they visit the Stade de Gerland on Sunday.
Sochaux sit in Ligue 1’s relegation zone but a win away to Lyon could see them rise as high as 16th by the end of the weekend.
Lyon, second in the French top tier, need victory to keep the pressure Ligue 1 leaders Paris Saint-Germain, who are five points ahead of Garde’s team.
Despite the disparate fortunes of Lyon and Sochaux this season, Garde expects the visitors to provide a tough test, although he hopes the motivation to remain a title contender will ensure his team comes out on top.
“There are no easy teams (in France’s top division), Brest, Bastia … those are complicated teams who are fighting to stay in Ligue 1,” Garde said.
“For our part, we play for something important, something special.
“So, yes we are motivated and when we play a competition, we play to win.
“And also we can still win the championship, so I think our motivation is even bigger than the others.”
With PSG hosting reigning champions Montpellier, who have won just one of their past five games away from home in all competitions, Garde knows the league leaders are likely to win on Friday.
Because of that Garde is convinced Lyon cannot afford to drop points against Sochaux if they are to challenge for their first Ligue 1 title since the 2007-08 season.
“I think Sunday’s game is extremely important,” Garde said.
“We need to focus 100 percent.
“Indeed, I think this is a very important game for the rest of the season.”
Lyon have won just two of their past seven matches in Ligue 1, including a 4-1 defeat away to Bastia in their most recent fixture.