Olympique Lyonnais coach Alain Perrin is calling for a committed performance against Rangers FC as his team aim to bounce back from a loss at FC Barcelona.
Olympique Lyonnais coach Alain Perrin is calling for a committed performance against Rangers FC as the French title-holders strive to bounce back from their heaviest UEFA Champions League defeat in history at FC Barcelona.
Lyon are yet to find their customary swagger this season following a summer of change, and a 3-0 reverse at Camp Nou on Matchday 1 was hardly the start Perrin had wanted in Group E. The result and display contrasted vividly with the club's stylish opening-day victories against Real Madrid CF in their previous two campaigns, prompting Perrin to demand a swift improvement. "When you have only six games it's very important to secure points early," the former Olympique de Marseille trainer said.
"We wanted to get a point in Barcelona but failed, so we must now beat Rangers to boost confidence and improve our position." Perrin remains on his guard, however, pointing to France's surprise UEFA EURO 2008™ qualifying defeat by Scotland last month as an example of what might happen if his men are below par. "This match will be very similar to France-Scotland," Perrin predicted, adding: "Only the result will be different.
'Organised and committed'
"I was at the Parc des Princes and was already wondering how we might break Rangers down," he continued. "They'll be well-organised and committed just like Scotland and we'll need to match their determination. But if we do that and play at a high tempo, using our speed on the flanks, we have a good chance."
Kader Keita and Sidney Govou will be asked to provide that width, with in-form striker Karim Benzema leading the attack. Benzema's ninth goal of the season helped Lyon beat RC Lens 3-0 to go top of Ligue 1 on Saturday, with Perrin describing the game as an ideal rehearsal for Rangers: "Lens were organised and defended in numbers yet we succeeded in breaking through. Rangers will be even tougher but we'll try our best to find cracks in their armour."
A draw would leave Rangers well-placed given the Scottish side's victory against VfB Stuttgart a fortnight ago, and their manager Walter Smith hopes to capitalise on any lingering uncertainty in the home camp. "Lyon made one or two changes in the summer, including the arrival of a new coach," said Smith, who masterminded the first of Scotland's two EURO successes over Les Bleus last October. "It takes time for new players to settle, but we're still expecting a difficult match.
"All European away games represent big tests for us in terms of defending well and launching attacks from defensive positions. We'll just try to get as good a result as possible." Smith must choose between Daniel Cousin and Kris Boyd for the lone striker's role after Jean-Claude Darcheville sustained a hamstring injury in Saturday's 1-1 stalemate at Motherwell FC. Darcheville has travelled with the squad but is rated as "really doubtful" to feature against Lyon.