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Lloris sets bar high for Lyon

Hugo Lloris is urging Olympique Lyonnais to show a "combative spirit" to stifle the aerial threat of an FC Steaua Bucureşti side who scored with three headers in the French team's 5-3 comeback victory in Romania.

Hugo Lloris has succeeded Grégory Coupet at Lyon
Hugo Lloris has succeeded Grégory Coupet at Lyon ©Getty Images

Hugo Lloris is urging his Olympique Lyonnais team-mates to show a "combative spirit" to stifle the aerial threat of an FC Steaua Bucureşti side who struck two goals from corners in the French champions' 5-3 comeback victory in Romania a fortnight ago.

'We're wary'
Lloris has already picked the ball out of his net six times in three UEFA Champions League Group F matches, with all the goals stemming from opposition headers. Yet the 21-year-old is convinced a more aggressive approach to defending dead-ball deliveries will resolve the problem. "Steaua caused us a lot of difficulties two weeks ago," Lloris admitted. "It's important we defend set-pieces with a combative spirit and make sure we're always first to the ball. Dorin Goian is probably their biggest threat in the air, but we're wary of the whole team because they have quality throughout."

Gilardino headers
An €8.5m summer signing from OGC Nice, French Under-21 international Lloris has needed to adapt quickly to life in the UEFA Champions League. Two Alberto Gilardino headers gave ACF Fiorentina a 2-0 half-time advantage on his competition debut in September, and though Lyon came back to claim a point against the Italian outfit, Lloris believes they are making life unnecessarily hard for themselves. "We must improve the way we start games," said the custodian, who has replaced Grégory Coupet after the stalwart's eleven seasons at Stade de Gerland.

'Determined mood'
"We must approach the Steaua game in determined mood, because it's vital we follow up the win in Bucharest with another at home," he continued. "It's only a group match and we won't be out if we lose or through if we win, but it's obvious this game is particularly important – and for both teams. If we win we'll be in a really strong position, while Steaua still have a chance of going through because there are three matches left."

'Mental strength'
Les Gones are second in the section, two points behind FC Bayern München and four ahead of their Matchday 4 rivals, and according to Lloris they are gaining confidence as the group stage progresses. "We feel like we're improving and it's very encouraging for the rest of the season. There are a lot of positives to take from the performance at Steaua. The way we fought back in the second half was excellent. It's the second time we've come back from two down, which shows we possess great mental strength and an excellent team spirit."