Nantes fans wait for the start of the French League...

Nantes fans wait for the start of the French League One soccer match between Nantes and Reims at the Stade de la Beaujoire stadium in Nantes, France, Sunday, Nov. 5, 2023. Nantes coach Pierre Aristouy, who salvaged the eight-time French champion from relegation last season, was fired on Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2023. Credit: AP/Jeremias Gonzalez

NANTES, France — Nantes coach Pierre Aristouy, who helped the eight-time French champion avoid relegation last season, was fired on Wednesday and replaced with Jocelyn Gourvennec.

After the Ligue 1 team said in a statement that Aristouy was relieved of his duties, Gourvennec's arrival was announced later in the day. The former Lille coach was appointed until the end of the season, with an option for an extra year.

Gourvennec played 109 matches and scored 32 goals for Nantes from 1995-98. He started his coaching career in 2008 and also managed Guingamp and Bordeaux.

Nantes was in 17th place in the league, with four of the 20 clubs getting relegated last season, when Aristouy took over from Antoine Kombouaré with four league games left to play.

This season, the club got off to a poor start but Aristouy had managed to put the team back on track before a four-match winless run — including three defeats — left Nantes in 11th place, 15 points behind leader Paris Saint-Germain.

“Nantes would particularly like to thank Pierre Aristouy and his staff, who put all their human qualities and talent at the service of the club. Appreciated by all, they helped the club to maintain its position at the end of last season,” the club said.

Gourvennec's first match in charge will be a tough test against second-place Nice on Saturday.

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