VfB Stuttgart may have lost both of their Group E games but upbeat midfielder Pável Pardo believes they "can do well again" as they face Olympique Lyonnais.
"Belief" and "focus" were the buzz words as Mexico midfielder Pável Pardo urged his VfB Stuttgart team-mates to show their mettle against Olympique Lyonnais, in a game both sides must win to keep alive their hopes of progress from Group E.
A veteran of more than 130 internationals, Pardo has had to wait until this season to make his UEFA Champions League bow and it has proved a baptism of fire. Two matches gone and the German champions lie level with Lyon at the bottom of the section having lost to Rangers FC and FC Barcelona. That form has been replicated in the Bundesliga where six defeats in ten games have left them languishing just a point outside the relegation zone. Yet if confidence has been knocked, Pardo is not showing it. "I believe in us, I believe in our players' ability, I believe we can do well again," he declared. "Against Lyon, we have to believe in ourselves."
All this is delivered as the diminutive defensive midfielder flashes his trademark smile, though the cheery demeanour masks a steely determination. "We have to concentrate only on this game," he said. "There is no sense in looking ahead or behind. We have had bad luck so far this season but we believe we can perform well – it is only a matter of time. We just need to have full focus: 100 per cent, 110 even." That figure had risen to 120 per cent by the end of the media conference as the 31-year-old further underlined its importance. His ability to meet his targets against Lyon could be pivotal to Stuttgart.
Pardo has made a big impression at the Gottlieb-Daimler Stadium since he belatedly decided to try his luck in Europe in summer 2006, arriving from Mexican side Club América just shy of his 30th birthday. He helped Stuttgart to a first league title in 15 years in his maiden campaign and although this term has begun badly, compounded by his dismissal in the 4-1 weekend loss at Hamburger SV, Pardo hopes the knowledge accumulated over his 14-year playing career can provide a timely boon. "Experience is always important and at a time like this, we need leaders," he said. "I always try to be one."