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Captain Diarra rallies Bordeaux ranks

Alou Diarra tells FC Girondins de Bordeaux to show they have the mental strength to annul a 3-1 deficit versus Olympique Lyonnais – yet takes no comfort from notable Lyon absentees.

Alou Diarra knows Bordeaux have to improve for the visit of Lyon
Alou Diarra knows Bordeaux have to improve for the visit of Lyon ©AFP

Captain Alou Diarra said the UEFA Champions League quarter-final second leg against Olympique Lyonnais will be a huge test of FC Girondins de Bordeaux's "mental strength" as they try to overturn a 3-1 deficit against his former club.

It has been a trying week for Bordeaux, who followed up last week's first-leg loss at Stade de Gerland with a 2-1 home defeat by AS Nancy-Lorraine on Saturday which allowed Lyon to replace them at the Ligue 1 summit. Diarra, who joined Bordeaux from OL in 2007 but missed the first leg through suspension, said: "We will have to prove our mental strength to react. After the first game, we know that anything is possible."

In fact, Bordeaux's form has been mixed for some time, conceding eight goals in three successive defeats. "We've had difficulties in defence, that's true, and we will have to overcome them," added Diarra. "We will have to demonstrate on the pitch that we are capable of doing that. We have talked a lot among ourselves. There is no need to put too much pressure on ourselves. Above all, we must enjoy this game."

The suspension of Lisandro, who scored two first-leg goals, and his strike partner Sidney Govou ought to be a boost to Bordeaux, but Diarra is wary. "The absence of Lisandro and Govou is not really a good thing," the 28-year-old midfielder said. "The players who will replace them will want to prove what they're capable of. Lyon have a good team and good quality reserves." So it is down to Bordeaux themselves. "Everybody in the team has their own responsibilities but it is together that we will go through," Diarra concluded.