Monaco has offered Robert Moreno the opportunity to bounce back after his short-lived stint as Spain coach, but the 42-year-old could not have been handed a tougher introduction to Ligue 1.
Moreno’s first league game in charge comes on Sunday away to a Paris Saint-Germain side in ominous form, and the two teams will meet again three days later in a rearranged fixture.
The new Monaco coach was appointed at the end of December on a contract until June 2022 after Leonardo Jardim was sacked for the second time in 15 months.
It was a surprise move for a man who has never managed a club at the top level and whose short spell as Spain coach ended in November when he was forced to make way for the returning Luis Enrique.
He had been promoted to the role of number one when Luis Enrique stepped down to take care of his daughter, Xana, who died in August of cancer.
Moreno, who oversaw Spain’s qualification for Euro 2020, had initially indicated he would step down if his old friend wanted to return, but after failing to do so he was branded as “disloyal” by Luis Enrique.
With that episode now behind him, Moreno is eager to seize this chance with a team whose aim is to secure Champions League qualification.
Jardim was sacked with Monaco seventh in Ligue 1, despite his last game being a 5-1 demolition of Lille, its sixth straight home league win.
The 2017 champion has been playing catch-up ever since failing to win any of its opening six matches this season, but only PSG and Marseille have collected more points since then.
However, this is not a great time to be facing PSG, which is seven points clear at the top and has won its last eight games, scoring 34 goals in the process.
One to watch: Moussa Dembele
Dembele in focus
There is pressure on Dembele to deliver for Lyon in the second half of the season with the under-performing side having recently lost Memphis Depay and Jeff Reine-Adelaide to serious knee injuries.
The 23-year-old former Celtic player scored his 13th goal of the season in Lyon’s League Cup quarterfinal win over Brest in midweek.
He is reportedly the subject of interest from Premier League clubs with Chelsea the latest linked to a January bid for the player, but Lyon has already publicly stated that Dembele is not for sale.
Now it needs the forward to fire it up the table, starting with Saturday’s trip to Bordeaux.
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