Olympique Lyonnais coach Claude Puel said his team had produced their best performance of the season in the UEFA Champions League to defeat AFC Fiorentina 2-1 and seal a place in the knockout rounds from Group F.
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Olympique Lyonnais coach Claude Puel said his team had produced their best performance of the season in the UEFA Champions League to defeat AFC Fiorentina 2-1 and seal their place in the knockout rounds. Looking ahead to the last 16 he added that the French champions were "surely competitive", while his opposite number Cesare Prandelli insisted his team "have a great future ahead of them" despite failing to win for the fifth Group F match in succession.
Claude Puel, Lyon coach
We're pleased to qualify after a beautiful, lively game. Both sides had several chances and not because the defences were bad but because of their great attacking qualities. We defeated a very good team with a great performance. In my opinion it was our best game in this UEFA Champions League campaign, especially in attack. I fielded [Kader] Keita on the right because I thought his pace would be very useful for us but [Karim] Benzema and [Sydney] Govou played very well too. We still have to wait and see if we are on the same level as the other big European teams, but we are surely competitive.
We started brilliantly, scoring two goals, and then we were good enough to resist Fiorentina's pressure. They played well and caused us several troubling moments, but our defence did well not to concede more than once, and we were always looking to score the third knowing that sooner or later Fiorentina might equalise. We played a fantastic game overall.
Cesare Prandelli, Fiorentina coach
We were both unlucky and naïve when we conceded the first goal. After the second we could have lost our composure but we didn't. I think we can be proud of what we have achieved, we just lacked a bit of experience against teams who are used to playing at this level. I think we could only have done better in the home game against Steaua, otherwise we have always played good football.
It was a good experience for us and I think this team has a great future ahead of them. I congratulated my players after the final whistle because they gave their all and our fans understood that. We have several young, talented players and I'm sure we'll be able to show our skills in this competition again in the future. We tried to close the space but they have players who are always dangerous even when you are defending well. I still think we played a great match and the result could have been different with a bit of luck.