Soccer-Courbis sees green everywhere as St Etienne clash looms

(Makes clear Montpellier are the 2012 champions, para 2)

PARIS, Dec 12 (Reuters) - Montpellier are in for an interesting ride under Rolland Courbis with the new manager spicing up his news conference on Thursday by questioning why next opponents St Etienne still play in green.

The colourful Courbis has taken over from Jean Fernandez looking to put the 2012 French champions back on track after a mediocre start to the season.

Fernandez quit last week after a 2-0 home defeat by Lorient a day earlier left the club fourth from bottom in Ligue 1.

"St Etienne play in green on a green turf. Why not play with a green ball, too, then? It's yet another anomaly in the world of football," Courbis said of Friday night's game against the team known as Les Verts.

"But I don't have anything against this club, on the contrary. But I have been a player and played against them in 1974 when I was with Sochaux.

"When you were looking left and right on the pitch and all you could see was green: the stands, the turf, the players. Everything. They were strong and on top of that you were struggling to see them."

Courbis, however, is confident Montpellier will be fine on Friday.

"We're in 2013 and it's my lucky number so I don't see why it should change," said Courbis, who sounded not too confident about next year, though.

"We're then going into 2014 and I like the number 14 very much less." (Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Justin Palmer)