Garcia was jeered by his new club's fans as Lyon stumbled to a goalless draw with Dijon
Paris (AFP) - Lyon stuttered to a 0-0 draw against fellow Ligue 1 strugglers Dijon on Saturday as already-embattled new coach Rudi Garcia took charge for the first time.
The 55-year-old’s appointment was greeted with anger by Lyon supporters because of his three-year stint at bitter rivals Marseille. He was roundly booed at the Groupama Stadium ahead of kick-off.
Garcia’s day did not get any better, as his side wasted a string of excellent chances against dogged Dijon.
“The fans were good during the match, at the end of the day they’re not happy with results and neither are we,” he told Canal+.
“We weren’t missing much, aggression in front of goal. We’re starting from scratch. When we play a team in the relegation zone, we must win.”
Lyon, who sacked Brazilian Sylvinho, in his first job as a head coach, after only 11 matches earlier this month, have failed to win in eight league games.
Sporting director Juninho has been responsible for hiring both former Arsenal and Barcelona full-back Sylvinho and Garcia.
But the former Brazil international insisted that there were positive signs on Saturday.
“What hurts is to look at our place in the table,” he said. “Concerning the first week under Rudi Garcia, the players have responded, very good things have been seen.
“If we manage to play as well (against Benfica in the Champions League on Wednesday), we will be able to reverse the situation.”
The draw left Lyon, who have not finished outside the top five since 1998, languishing 16th in the table after 10 matches, just one point off the bottom.
The seven-time French title-winners, who were widely tipped to be Paris Saint-Germain’s closest challengers this season, are 14 points adrift of the defending champions.
“It’s frustrating, there’s no explanation,” said striker Moussa Dembele. “We have to ignore what’s happening around the pitch. We are professionals used to playing under pressure.”
PSG beat nine-man Nice 4-1 on Friday to move five points clear of second-placed Nantes, who fell to a 1-0 loss at Metz on Saturday.
Nantes went into the game off the back of three consecutive 1-0 victories, but saw Molla Wague dismissed in the 62nd minute and Habib Diallo grabbed a winner for Metz with four minutes to play.
Nantes remain second in the table, despite having only scored nine goals in 10 league matches this season, as third-placed Angers lost 1-0 at home to Brest.
Any hopes of a competitive title race appear all but over with PSG already well clear despite struggling with injuries so far this term.
Last year’s runners-up Lille are down in sixth place, nine points adrift of Thomas Tuchel’s PSG, after a 2-1 defeat by Toulouse left them still without a win on the road.