Claude Puel: Neal Maupay injury "bitter blow"

Nice coach Claude Puel gestures to his players on the touchline on December 1, 2012
© PA Photos
Claude Puel admits that Neal Maupay's impending surgery is a blow to the player and his club Nice.

Nice coach Claude Puel has admitted that the injury to Neal Maupay is a "bitter blow" to his side's chances for the rest of the season.

Puel's side are in a battle for the top three in Ligue 1, but will now have to do so without 16-year-old sensation Maupay, who is undergoing surgery on Wednesday for a ruptured cruciate ligament.

"It's a bitter blow for Neal and for us as we needed everybody for the final few matches of the season," Ligue1.com quotes Puel as saying.

"The injury didn't seem serious and he carried on playing before going off.

"We've tried to protect him in terms of his amount of game time and the media pressure. At least now he'll be able to prepare for his school exams in peace."

Nice are currently fifth but are just two points behind third-placed Lyon.

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1Marseille101725
2Paris Saint-Germain101118
3Bordeaux10618
4Lyon101117
5Saint-Etienne10017
6Nantes10116
7Metz10115
8Lille10115
9Toulouse10014
10AS Monaco10-114
11Montpellier HSC10-114
12Nice10-414
13Rennes10-212
14Reims10-1011
15Lorient10-410
16Bastia10-510
17Evian TG10-710
18Caen10-19
19Guingamp10-89
20Lens10-58