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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1Lyon343968
2Paris Saint-Germain333568
3AS Monaco342062
4Saint-Etienne341560
5Marseille342457
6Bordeaux34155
7Montpellier HSC34852
8Lille34150
9Rennes34-449
10Nantes34-744
11Guingamp34-1043
12Nice34-641
13Bastia34-840
14Toulouse34-1739
15Caen34-538
16Lorient34-938
17Reims34-1838
18Evian TG34-1637
19Metz33-1730
20Lens34-2626