AS Saint-Etienne bets on Claude Puel to start again

The experienced coach arrives in the Forez to replace Ghislain Printant and straighten a club adrift since the beginning of the season.

Time to Reading 3 min.

On Friday October 4th, AS Saint-Etienne announced the arrival of Claude Puel as general manager and coach until 2022. The 58-year-old coach replaces Ghislain Printant, suspended from his post. Claude Puel will have the mission to wake a club in great difficulty in Ligue 1, only 19e in the ranking. He will lead the Greens for the first time Sunday (21 hours) in the derby against Lyon.

  • Ghislain Printant, a starving record

Appointed AS Saint-Etienne's head coach in June, following the departure of Jean-Louis Gasset, Ghislain Printant fizzled out on the bench of the Greens. Assistant coach under the orders of Gasset (December 2017 – June 2019), the promotion of the former coach of SC Bastia was nevertheless plebiscite by the players. " If it's not Ghislain Printant, for sure I'll ask to leave, " said midfielder Yann M'Vila, at the microphone of Canal + last May.

Ghislain Printant during the match against VfL Wolfsburg on 3 October.
Ghislain Printant during the match against VfL Wolfsburg on 3 October. PHILIPPE DESMAZES / AFP

Fourth in Ligue 1 at the end of the 2018-2019 season, his nomination was perceived as the continuation of the good work of Jean-Louis Gasset. But since the resumption of the championship on August 10, the Greens have chained the bad results: a win in the first eight games, all competitions.

Despite a leap against Nimes Olympique on 29 September (0-1), and a draw against VfL Wolfsburg in the Europa League (1-1), Thursday, the fate of Ghislain Printant was sealed in the heads of the leaders of Etienne. These last ones were in negotiation with Claude Puel since several weeks.

Present at training this morning, Printant led the session at Etrat, the Green Training Center, as if it had been the case. He " will soon be received by the club management for an interview about a possible breach of his employment contract Said ASSE on Friday.

  • Claude Puel, back in the French league

Claude Puel continues his tour of France. After AS Monaco, Lille, Olympique Lyonnais and OGC Nice, the 58-year-old coach will discover his fifth club in the French league. A return to France after two experiments in England.

Claude Puel is the new coach of the Greens, and will make his debut in the Forez against Lyon.
Claude Puel is the new coach of the Greens, and will make his debut in the Forez against Lyon. BEN STANSALL / AFP

Starting from OGC Nice in 2016, Puel joins Southampton for his first big league in a foreign championship. For the Saints, he has a promising season: he manages to hoist his team in the Cup final against Manchester United (3-2 loss) and finishes eighth in the Premier League. However, he is ousted at the end of the season, his managers reproach him including a management too rigid.

With no post during the offseason, the former defensive midfielder, who caught the eye of some British teams during his stint in Southampton, bounced off the Leicester City bench and succeeded Craig Shakespeare in October 2017. Fourteenths at the time of his nomination, the Foxes finally finished in ninth place.

The following exercise is more complicated. After a good first part of the season (7e), the club, champion of Premier League in 2016, chained the bad results: six defeats in the last seven games between January and February. A fatal series to the coach removed from his position on February 24, 2019. After a little over seven months without a club, it is therefore to AS Saint-Etienne that he finds a coaching position until 2022 Jacky Bonnevay, already in his staff in Leicester, will be his deputy.

Also named General Manager, " Claude Puel will join the board of directors chaired by Roland Romeyer and will also chair Xavier Thuillot, who has been appointed managing director "said the ASSE.

  • An explosive derby to start

In the Forez, the task looks arduous for Claude Puel. Currently relegated with eight points after eight days of championship, the Greens are already a significant delay in the fight for the first five places. On a positive note, AS Saint-Etienne has players of superior quality to many Ligue 1 clubs. Claude Puel now has to build a collective.

In the meantime, its beginnings are electric. With as an introduction, reunion against his former club OL (2008-2011), for a derby more than expected by supporters (Sunday, 21 hours). The only training session on Saturday promises to be crucial to get to know the group, before its first appearance on the bench Etienne. The opportunity to offer the Greens the first success of the season at Geoffroy-Guichard.

Nicolas Master


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