Paris (AFP) – Rennes heaped more misery on floundering St Etienne on Sunday whipping the Ligue 1 tailenders 5-0 and adding to the mounting pressure on their manager Claude Puel.
Martin Terrier’s first hat-trick at this level along with a strike by Lovro Majer and a comical own goal by Yvann Macon propelled Rennes into second spot in the table, albeit 11 points adrift of leaders Paris Saint Germain.
PSG needed an equaliser by Dutch international Georginio Wijnaldum in time added on on Saturday to draw 1-1 with Lens.
Defeat leaves former Leicester boss Puel’s side on 12 points — with just two wins in 17 matches — and bottom due to a worse goal difference than Metz.
The latter play Monaco later on Sunday.
“That really hurts,” St Etienne midfielder Zaydou Youssouf told Prime Video.
“It is a disaster, to lose 5-0 at home is inadmissible, we have no right to lose like that.
“We have to show a different side to ourselves because that was rubbish.”
Puel for his part bemoaned failing to take their chances during a “decent 20 minute spell” but admitted once Rennes broke the deadlock their heads went down.
“We were very fragile,” said Puel, who coached Monaco to the 2000 Ligue 1 title.
“They are a team packed with quality and are ruthless if you show any sign of weakness.
“The group will pick itself up and fight.
“We cannot afford to give up.”
Rennes, though, were all smiles as they rebounded from a loss to Lille — the only one in their last 14 matches in all competitions.
“The priority was to resume our positive dynamic after the defeat against Lille,” said Rennes coach Bruno Genesio.
“That has been achieved with a very good win and we are very happy.”
Rennes face a near impossible task of catching PSG, although the Qatar-owned club are hardly playing like a side filled with superstars.
The Lens result was their second draw in as many matches.
Despite their big lead at the top, it was yet another unsatisfactory performance from Mauricio Pochettino’s disjointed team, who have usually had enough individual talent to get results this season but have rarely convinced.
“It wasn’t our best night but the effort was there and when the effort is there you have to congratulate the players, but we know very well we need to do better,” Pochettino told broadcaster Canal Plus.