Saint-Etienne head coach Christophe Galtier says their 1-0 loss to Lille at Stade Pierre-Mauroy on Wednesday was their worst game of the campaign so far.
Yassine Benzia struck for Les Dogues on the hour mark to hand manager Frederic Antonetti his first win at the helm, but Galtier wasn't impressed with what he saw from Les Verts.
"I think that was our worst match of the season," Galtier said. "We wasted our efforts and didn't produce much going forward; we submitted to our opponents' will.
"It was tough for the lads; we didn't have much in the tank and got tired out pretty quickly. In comparison to last season, I have four or five injured players this time around and their absence means I can't rotate my squad as much as I would like to.
"It's a question of energy, not will. But if we want to remain an ambitious side this season, we'll need to hit the winter break with a certain number of points, which means we need to win on Sunday (against Stade Rennais)."
While the result means that Saint-Etienne missed the chance to climb above their current league position of 7th, the three important points could be crucial for Lille, who are just above the relegation zone in 18th.
"It does you good; every win is a welcome one, but above all it was the players' frame of mind that did us good," said Antonetti.
"It's the right reward for the efforts the lads have put in; everyone was pulling together as a team. We pushed forward more, but we still have lots of work left to do.
"We need to persevere and to be able to repeat this kind of performance, as of Saturday's clash with Caen. It's tough going through moments when you're in the drop zone and we know that it won't get better over night. We'll need mental endurance."