Struggling for goals of late, FC Girondins de Bordeaux coach Francis Gillot knows his team need to find their shooting boots in order to overcome SL Benfica on Thursday.
Trailing 1-0 to keeper Cédric Carrasso's own goal in last week's UEFA Europa League round of 16 first leg, Bordeaux must beat Benfica by double that margin if they are to progress without the lottery of penalties. The Ligue 1 side, however, have found the net just six times in their last nine games in all competitions. Consider that their Portuguese visitors, meanwhile, have kept five successive clean sheets and the size of Bordeaux's task is all too apparent.
"For five matches especially, we have struggled in terms of efficiency," said Gillot. "The ratio between the opportunities we are creating and the goals we are scoring is very low. We produced an interesting performance against Benfica [in Lisbon], but you must convert your chances if you are to advance."
The January departures of top scorer Yoan Gouffran, to Newcastle United FC, and Jussiê, to al-Wasl SC in the United Arab Emirates, have eminently affected Bordeaux's potency. "You know what the circumstances are," Gillot added. "Departures, injuries, illness. We are missing a regular striker who can convert our chances into goals. I think that to a certain extent every team depends on a striker and we are no exception."
Gillot, though, is a former defender renowned for his in-depth tactical analysis of opponents, not to mention his plain speaking. A lack of firepower up front may be his team's most evident ill, but the 53-year-old is keen for someone else to fill the void. "Our midfielders could certainly score more, from distance or from corners," he added. "[Grégory Sertic] scores in training but in matches he misses opportunities."
There is hope for Bordeaux, unbeaten at the Stade Chaban-Delmas in 13 European outings. "It's clear that we don't want this run to stop," said Gillot, whose side are up to ninth in Ligue 1 following Sunday's 1-0 win against SC Bastia and through to the French Cup quarter-finals. "One thing is clear: we won't let the Europa League go even though we are still contenders in three competitions. We sweated too much last season to get here."