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As Olympique Lyonnais prepare for their UEFA Champions League third qualifying round tie at Grasshopper Club today, a man who knows a thing or two about excelling in the competition for the French team, Grégory Coupet, is delighted to see his old side back.
After their run of ten consecutive UEFA Champions League appearances ended in 2012/13, the former goalkeeper, who reached the quarter-finals with OL three times, is sure that the spirit and mentality Lyon possess will help them prosper on their return to the elite.
"When you put on the Lyon shirt, whether it is with the women's or the men's team, you put it on to win," said the man who lifted seven straight Ligue 1 titles at Stade de Gerland. "There is no other option. I feel that the mentality will never be diminished, the objective will always be to win. I am very optimistic and positive for Lyon."
That winning zeal was created and cemented by the side Coupet played for, a team that dominated the French domestic scene from 2002 to 2008. "The best thing about all those years was building a squad, building a team," said Coupet, a veteran of 370 league games for Lyon who retired in 2011. "But if I had to name some memories, it would be the first title of course. That only happens once and it was the first for Lyon. It triggered a lot of things. Then the Champions League."
Coupet's mastery of his art was just one reason for Lyon's success but the 40-year-old, capped 34 times by France, warns OL's current No1 Rémy Vercoutre it can be a lonely place between the posts. "This position requires a lot of humility because you can have three fantastic months and then the slightest mistake brings you down into the abyss.
"The most important thing for a keeper is to be able to question yourself and to remain calm. You should not let euphoria take over, because reality brings you back down," noted the former AS Saint-Étienne, Club Atlético de Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain FC custodian.
Click on the video player above to watch the Coupet interview in full.
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