Olympique Lyonnais have not failed to progress past the UEFA Champions League group stage for the last four seasons, but two defeats at the start of the current campaign have left them struggling to keep up that run.
A 3-0 reverse at FC Barcelona was a disappointment, but it was the subsequent home loss by the same scoreline against Rangers FC that was the hammer blow, leaving the French champions six points adrift of their Spanish and Scottish rivals. Their opponents in their next two games, starting away on Tuesday, are similarly point-less VfB Stuttgart, and Lyon defender Sébastien Squillaci knows there is no more room for error. "We know that if we want to qualify we have to start with two wins against Stuttgart," Squillaci told uefa.com. "At the start we knew it would be difficult, now we we've made it very difficult, so it's up to us to make up for what we couldn't achieve before."
Squillaci still rues the Matchday 2 reverse. "I don't think Rangers had even had a shot, then they had a corner and we made a mistake in our marking and conceded a goal," he said. "It was 1-0 against a team defending in depth. We couldn't find any solutions to that and then we ended up making too many individual mistakes. Everyone knows that at this level you pay dearly for that and you saw it against Rangers."
Lyon also made a slow start in Ligue 1, but perhaps some teething troubles were inevitable with the departure of coach Gérard Houllier and appointment of Alain Perrin plus significant changes to the squad with Florent Malouda among several others leaving to be replaced by raft of new signings including Kader Keita and Fabio Grosso. "It's true we've lost some players of real standing, some very good players, so that's difficult," Squillaci said. "Of course we've got some good players too, but they need a bit of time. As an example I'd give Malouda. I know when he arrived here it wasn't easy to start with, then afterwards he had some amazing seasons, so maybe we need to be a bit patient. It's also through playing together that we find ourselves collectively and find our rhythm, so we need a little bit of time. But sadly when you're at a club like Lyon, you don't really have six months to get going."
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