Nice without Balotelli and Sneijder for Napoli clash

Nice coach Lucien Favre admits that it’s “very likely” star players Mario Balotelli and Wesley Sneijder won’t have recovered from their respective injuries in time to face Napoli on Wednesday.

The star striker and veteran midfielder were both missing from Favre’s squad who lost their second consecutive Ligue 1 match on Saturday and appear set to miss out again when the French club take on their Italian rivals in a Champions League playoff match next week.

“We don’t expect them to be back for the Napoli match,” Favre said in a post-match press conference. “It’s very likely they won’t be back, it’s useless hoping for it.”

The OGC manager also discussed the setbacks his team is currently facing, lamenting his depleted squad and congested fixture-list.

“It’s the start of the season and we’ve lost five or six starters from last season. It’ll take time to gel,” he said, referring to the players he has lost to injury and transfers away from the Allianz Riviera.

“In one off-season in Germany I lost three important starters and it wasn’t easy, so imagine five or six,” he continued. “It’s not bad though, it’s a big challenge.

“Whatever happens against Napoli, we’re going to have English weeks [playing in midweek] which will also slow us down in the frequency of our training and working on systems.

“Let’s just hope we’re very busy on Tuesdays and Wednesdays,” he added optimistically.

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