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Houllier wants no let-up from Lyon

Published: Wednesday 1 November 2006, 1.37CET
Gérard Houllier does not want his Olympique Lyonnais players to show mercy against FC Dynamo Kyiv as they target a 14th consecutive win and qualification.
by Matthew Spiro
from Lyon

Tournament statistics

LyonDynamo Kyiv

Goals scored12
Attempts on target50
Attempts off target53
Fouls committed170
Yellow cards17
Red cards0
Published: Wednesday 1 November 2006, 1.37CET

Houllier wants no let-up from Lyon

Gérard Houllier does not want his Olympique Lyonnais players to show mercy against FC Dynamo Kyiv as they target a 14th consecutive win and qualification.

Olympique Lyonnais coach Gérard Houllier does not want his players to show any mercy against FC Dynamo Kyiv on Wednesday as the French club target a 14th consecutive victory in all competitions.

'Crucial game'
Group winners for the last three seasons, Lyon are on course to top their section again after taking maximum points from their opening three games. A draw may even prove good enough to seal qualification with two matches to spare, but Houllier is keen for his side to claim maximum plunder and maintain their cushion over Group E rivals Real Madrid CF. "It's a crucial game in terms of securing qualification," he said. "But even if we get the result we need to go through, we won't relax because our aim is to finish top."

Houllier praise
There are certainly no signs of Lyon's standards slipping. Sunday's 1-0 win against AS Nancy-Lorraine took the Rhone club eleven points clear at the top of Ligue 1, and left their coach purring with praise. "I'm very proud of my players," Houllier said. "Their attitude, consistency and the general quality of their football have been exceptional. They always look to score goals."

'Great ability'
Brazilian striker Fred is injured but with John Carew and Karim Benzema both available, Lyon will be confident of adding to their eight UEFA Champions League goals against a Dynamo team with no points and the poorest defensive record in the competition. Houllier, though, remains wary of a backlash from the Ukrainian visitors, beaten 3-0 by Lyon a fortnight ago. "They have great ability up front," he warned. "We needed a strong defence and some luck to keep a clean sheet in the first game."

'Psychological advantage'
For Dynamo coach Anatoli Demianenko, the tie represents an ideal opportunity to recapture lost pride. "Lyon have a psychological advantage because they've already beaten us," he said, "but I'm convinced we can get a positive result. Apart from Juninho Pernambucano, who is quite exceptional, the teams are evenly matched. The most important thing is that we cut out the mistakes and fight for everything. We're playing for the honour of Dynamo and a victory would go some way to restoring the club's great name."

Gerland memory
Demianenko knows more about Dynamo's history than most. He was a defensive linchpin for the club in the 1980s and captained them to victory in the 1985/86 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup final against Club Atlético de Madrid. That match took place at Stade Gerland, and Demianenko, returning to Lyon for the first time in 20 years, said: "I hope this ground is still lucky for me."

Demianenko optimism
Dynamo's domestic form also gives the 47-year-old cause for optimism. They have won twice since the defeat by Lyon, and are three points clear of FC Shakhtar Donetsk atop the Ukrainian standings. "The mood is very positive but Lyon are a formidable side at home," Demianenko said. With midfielders Carlos Corrêa and Diogo Rincón injured, the coach should switch from 4-5-1 to 4-4-2, employing Serhiy Rebrov in a creative midfield role and handing in-form Kleber a start in attack alongside Artem Milevskiy.

Probable teams
Lyon: Grégory Coupet; François Clerc, Sébastien Squillaci, Cris, Eric Abidal; Tiago, Jérémy Toulalan, Juninho Pernambucano; Sidney Govou, Florent Malouda; John Carew.

Dynamo: Olexandr Shovkovskiy; Marjan Marković, Rodolfo, Goran Gavrančić, Badr El Kaddouri; Oleh Gusev, Taras Mikhalik, Ayila Yussuf, Serhiy Rebrov; Kleber, Artem Milevskiy.

Last updated: 01/11/06 22.38CET