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Monday, 02 November 2009 16:56

Le Mans president backs Duarte as slide continues

Nice 1-0 Le Mans

Portuguese coach Paulo Duarte has received public backing from Le Mans president Henri Legarda, despite succumbing to their seventh league defeat of the season against Nice this weekend.

After a bright start to life in France, having taking the reigns at Le Mans during the summer, Duarte has seen his side take just four points from their last eight matches, leaving them in 19th place in Ligue 1 with eleven rounds played.

The situation has led to growing pressure on former Leiria man Duarte, with president Legarda having stated last week that the 40-year-old’s job was not in danger. A 1-0 defeat at Nice on Sunday, which saw Le Mans play 75 minutes of the match with ten men, increased pressure on Duarte, but the Portuguese has again received the support of his owner.

“There is no need to be saying he is about to go,” Legarda told Football365. “He is willing to stay and move forward because he has the confidence of the president and the confidence of the club. I believe that in these difficult times we must be united. Paulo Duarte must continue his excellent work. He has created a team with a soul and I believe at some point it will turn around.”

For his part, Duarte admitted that he was “sad” with the defeat to Nice. “If one team had to win tonight, it was us,” he said after the match. “We controlled the game with ten against eleven. We even caused the Nice fans to whistle their team. Our reaction after the sending off was excellent. We should have gotten an equaliser. I note that we hit the post for the eighth time this season.

“Despite the result, I am happy with the performance of my team. My own situation does not matter. What matters is that Le Mans wins, be it with Duarte in charge or Schwarzenegger. I will leave if necessary. It is not a problem.”

Frustrating times in France for Paulo Duarte

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