"When things aren't going well it's good to talk," said Maxime Gonalons, crediting a half-time clear-the-air session for Olympique Lyonnais' win at Grasshopper Club.
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Captain Maxime Gonalons gave Olympique Lyonnais coach Rémi Garde credit after his half-time team talk refocused OL minds at Grasshopper Club, with the visitors promptly scoring after the break to complete a 2-0 UEFA Champions League third qualifying round aggregate win. The Zurich side's Veroljub Salatic and Amir Abrashi were left to reflect on the thin line between success and failure in Europe's top club competition.
Maxime Gonalons, Lyon midfielder
We qualified, and that's what we wanted to do. Not everything was good – especially during the first half we didn't play well. We had a game plan but it was difficult to apply it. We talked a lot at half-time and we responded well in the second half.
We know that in Europe the intensity is different from in the league. The one-on-one duels are more difficult. In the first half we took a lot of hits, a lot of bad hits. We needed to respond because we know that it's great to play in Europe; it's the highest level, and if you don't compete physically then it's difficult to win.
The coach talked to us at half-time. When things aren't going too well it's good to talk, because we are a team, we know each other very well and sometimes, in order to move forward, you need to say a few things, and that can only be good for the team. We have to congratulate everyone tonight because these two games were not easy. Even if things were not perfect, we've still qualified, and that is good. We had a good pre-season, we've made it through this qualifying round, and now we are ready for the league.
Veroljub Salatic, Grasshoppers midfielder
I don't think it was down to the experience – it was more about being lucky and taking chances when they came. Especially in the first match we created chances and had set pieces. If just one of those had gone in then maybe it would have looked different.
I think that if you look at both matches it was just a sensational performance by us. It was fantastic how we performed and what we put into it – we can be proud of the performances against Lyon.
Amir Abrashi, Grasshoppers midfielder
It hurts, it really hurts when you see that we had our chances. [Lyon] were very efficient, as they were in the first leg, and they just didn't need many chances to score the decider. We could have done it as well with the chances we created. You can see it in these two matches – they have been a very efficient team, and that made the difference
We had our chances, maybe a bit less in the second leg, but we had chances to score in the first leg. We would have been more dangerous if we'd been cleverer in the last 20 metres. Just one player has to have the courage to take a shot and hit the target.