Puel vows to revive Nice
New coach Claude Puel has set his sights on bringing European football back to Nice as he embarks on a long-term project with the club. Nice only secured their Ligue 1 survival on the last day of the season just concluded, finishing four points above the relegation zone in 13th place.
But Puel, who was yesterday appointed as Rene Marsiglia's successor on a three-year contract believes rapid progress can be made - particularly with a new stadium opening next year in time to stage matches when France hosts UEFA EURO 2016.
"There will be great moments, and some more difficult," he told a press conference reported on the club's official website. "If the public continue to get behind us, that can give us something special.
"This is a club with potential which has to dream today. All the better if my arrival inspires positive vibes. I hope it will especially inspire realistic ambition, and that everyone will be behind the club once more," the coach said. "Nice have the potential to play in the Europa League - and why not the Champions League?"
Puel, the former Lille and Lyon boss, was persuaded to make the surprise move to the Mediterranean club after meeting with club president Jean-Pierre Rivere, adding: "His words reassured me in my ambition to invest in this project for several years."
On the construction of the Nice Eco Stadium, which will replace the ageing Stade du Ray, he added: "It plays a part in the progress of a club. I fought for this for six years at Lille. Knowing that this one at Nice will be there in a year is a big thing. It also shows the desire of the town. It shows also the level we must take the club to to justify it."