It is nearing Christmas, but there is little chance of Montpellier Hérault SC will be giving anything away in their last three Ligue 1 Conforama matches of the season.
Michel Der Zakarian’s side are the stingiest in the French top-flight, conceding just nine goals in their 16 games so far, three fewer than Paris Saint-Germain, the next-meanest club in the country.
At the same stage last season, Montpellier had conceded 28 times, and much of that drastic improvement can be put down to the summer arrival of goalkeeper Benjamin Lecomte.
“For now, I think Benjamin deserves to be seen as the league’s best goalkeeper because we have the meanest defence,” said Der Zakarian of Lecomte, who was signed from relegated FC Lorient.
WATCH: Lecomte keeps another clean sheet as Montpellier beat Lille
A solid performer in Brittany, Lecomte has stepped up a level in the south of France. Ever present this season, his eight clean sheets put him behind only Manchester United’s David de Gea in Europe’s top five leagues
“Of course your stats are going to be better if you play behind the best defence in the league, not the worst,” the modest 26-year-old told The Ligue 1 Show on beIN SPORTS. “But stats often focus on the number of saves, catches, parries etc but that’s not even half of it, there’s also anticipation, distribution and communication which is essential. So there is background work that often gets forgotten.”
WATCH: Lecomte and Montpellier keep PSG in check
By some perhaps, but not Lecomte’s team-mates, the club’s fans, nor the French media, who are beginning to put the Montpellier man’s name forward as a potential surprise inclusion in their country’s 2018 FIFA World Cup squad.
“Goalkeepers have to be decisive nowadays, that’s what I try to be,” said Lecomte, who saw a run of three successive clean sheets ended by Florian Thauvin’s penalty in last weekend’s 1-1 draw with Olympique de Marseille.
“Now I have to continue, to show that this team is consistent and able to maintain a good level. The best goalkeepers shine through their consistency!”