Lille boss Christophe Galtier bemoaned his side’s lack of creativity after a 1-1 draw with 10-man Lyon left them trailing Ligue 1 pacesetters Paris Saint-Germain.
A win over Lyon would have given Lille 21 points - the same tally as PSG.
But after Mehmet Zeki Celik’s own goal cancelled out Jonathan Bamba’s 23rd-minute opener at the Stade Pierre Mauroy, the hosts failed to find a way past a well-drilled Lyon side who lost a man after Marcelo was dismissed for a second yellow card just after half-time.
"Lyon defended well with a compact low block and we lacked creativity, aggressiveness and presence in the penalty area,” said Galtier.
PSG set the pace
Lille remain the only unbeaten side. However, their fourth draw in nine games means they trail PSG by two points.
“Big teams are comfortable against low blocks,” added Galtier. “But for us it's more complicated.
"There was a well-placed defence and we kept going around them. We didn't know how to take advantage of the numerical advantage. There is frustration and anger because sometimes in difficult matches you have to show more character, more temperament. We lacked initiative.”
Lille's next taste of action comes in the Europa League on Thursday. They travel to the San Siro to take on a buccaneering AC Milan who lead Serie A with five wins and a draw in their first six matches.
Milan warmed up for the Europa League game with a 2-1 victory at Udinese. Former PSG striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored Milan's winner seven minutes from time.