Girard sets Montpellier European target

01 December 2011 02:46

Rene Girard, coach of Ligue 1 leaders Montpellier, has dismissed talk his side could win the French league title but says a European place is a realistic objective.

Montpellier, who finished 14th last season, currently lead the French top flight by three points from Paris Saint-Germain ahead of Saturday's home game with Lorient.

However, when asked on Thursday whether Montpellier were thinking about winning the league, Girard was frank.

"We don't want to cloud our thinking with that," he said. "In mid-May, I'll commit myself to it! The best response is to go forward and win matches.

"The target of avoiding relegation is no longer relevant. But, in all honesty, it's not to be champions of France either.

"Finishing in the top five and winning a European place would be really very good."

Montpellier will lose the services of several African players during January's Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, and Girard confirmed they would look to plug the gaps in the winter transfer window.

"Four players will be going to the Africa Cup of Nations," he said.

"We've pretty much prepared for that. We hope to pick up a player, probably a midfielder, to help us through that period."

Forward Souleymane Camara (Senegal), centre-back Abdel El Kaoutari (Morocco), playmaker Younes Belhanda (Morocco) and midfielder Jamel Saihi (Tunisia) are the players likely to be summoned for Africa Cup of Nations duty.

Source: AFP