Stade Gerland boss urges no one to count their chickens.
Lyon continue their push for a first Ligue 1 crown in five seasons with the visit of relegation-threatened Evian this weekend, while title-favourites Paris Saint-Germain head south for a tricky test against Bordeaux.
Lyon could increase the pressure on PSG by opening up a provisional five-point gap over their title-rivals with victory over Evian, who are mired in the bottom three, at Stade Gerland on Friday.
Lyon 9/4 to win Ligue 1: Ligue 1 betting
However, manager Remi Garde insisted the leaders must remained grounded in their pursuit of the French championship.
“At this time of the season, it represents just a snapshot. Now, we have to make sure we don’t get carried away,” Garde told OLweb.fr.
“First place is not the most important thing for the moment, I’ve already said that.”
Referring to Evian’s lowly league position, Garde stressed: “(On) Friday, we will have to take the right track without being preoccupied with first place, or that of our opponents.
“I know what a team in difficulty like Evian is capable of doing.”
Meanwhile, PSG stuttered to a goalless draw at home to Ajaccio in their first game following the winter break, and defender Alex expects another stern challenge at Stade Chaban-Delmas on Sunday, where Francis Gillot’s fourth-placed Bordeaux are unbeaten this season.
“We know it’s always difficult against Bordeaux. They defend very well and are dangerous on the counter-attack. We must pay attention to that. We have to stop their counters and play intelligently,” said the Brazilan centre-back.
“It’s important to win and to build up confidence. We are currently two points behind Lyon, so we have no choice but to win,” he added.
Bordeaux midfielder Nicolas Maurice-Belay labelled Sunday’s clash as the “the match of the year”.
“The matches against Paris are always motivating for the players, and for the fans as well,” Maurice-Belay told Girondins.com, adding: “There is also a lot at stake because we can get closer to the top by beating them.”
Alex’s defensive partner Thiago Silva — named to the 2012 UEFA Team of the Year this week — is sidelined with a hamstring injury, while midfielder Thiago Motta misses out for PSG through suspension.
A week after a disappointing 3-1 defeat at Sochaux, Marseille will resume their title challenge against a resurgent Montpellier, the defending champions having won four of their last five fixtures.
Loic Remy’s departure to English side Queens Park Rangers leaves Marseille with one less recognised striker, with Elie Baup actively searching for a new attacking recruit although the Ayew brothers respective omissions from Ghana’s squad for this month’s Africa Cup of Nations ensures Andre-Pierre Gignac is not left to shoulder the burden alone.
A run of six matches without a win in the league has seen Saint-Etienne plummet to 11th in the standings, but, buoyed by a first cup final appearance since 1982 following Tuesday’s penalty shootout defeat of Lille, Les Verts will aim to end their slide away to Brest on Saturday.