Lyon take home comfort ahead of Madrid game
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Eager to divert attention from a 4-0 loss at Group D leaders Real Madrid CF last time out, Rémi Garde is focusing on Olympique Lyonnais's unbeaten home record against the Spanish side.
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Olympique Lyonnais coach Rémi Garde is eager to focus on the bigger picture as Real Madrid CF come calling in Group D. A draw would take the Spanish side through to the UEFA Champions League knockout stage with two games to spare after an emphatic 4-0 victory when these teams met a fortnight ago. Yet in four previous trips to Lyon they have lost three, drawing the other – a fact Garde is only too aware of.
Coach Rémi Garde
We are well aware of how important this game is. A defeat would put us in a very difficult position but we never go into a game thinking we could lose 4-0, the score when we met two weeks ago. The best way to start the match is to be convinced that it is decisive for us.
Of course, Real Madrid are in great shape at the moment and can rely on several talented players, [former Lyon striker] Karim Benzema included. I don't know where he started out ... I should probably ask his old coaches how we can stop him. Of course, I'm kidding: we have to stop all of them collectively, as a unit.
I would like to have Lisandro, Michel Bastos, Clément Grenier and others who aren't available, but we have shown plenty of quality and character since the beginning of the season. We will be really motivated, and the fact that we have never lost against Real Madrid at Gerland can help us psychologically.
Saturday: Lyon 2-0 AS Saint-Étienne (Briand 82, Gourcuff 90+1)
Lloris; Réveillère, Cris, Lovren, Cissokho (Dabo 46); Gonalons, Källström, Gourcuff, Briand, Lacazette (Ederson 71), Gomis (Koné 87)
• Yoann Gourcuff scored his first goal of the season as Lyon extended their unbeaten home run to 24 games despite Mouhamadou Dabo being dismissed seven minutes after his half-time introduction.
Aly Cissokho is a major doubt after picking up a hamstring injury on Saturday while John Mensah is struggling with a thigh problem. Michel Bastos (hamstring), Rémy Vercoutre (foot), Anthony Lopes (broken leg), Clément Grenier (hamstring), Jérémy Pied (ankle), Lisandro (ankle) and Yannis Tafer (foot) are all out.
Coach José Mourinho
A win will take us through to the next round and leave us well-placed to finish top of the group, so we have to strive for victory, without thinking of recent games between the teams. Two weeks ago we continued the good results we got against Lyon last season [drawing 1-1 in Lyon, 3-0 in Madrid].
In my opinion we are better than we were last season. We have achieved a good balance and have more potential within the squad. It's harder now for a player to be assured of a place in the team. But we have to be wary of Lyon. They'll probably be very motivated and aggressive. They need points and if they win their next two home games in the competition, they'll have a real chance of going through.
Saturday: Real Sociedad de Fútbol 0-1 Madrid (Higuaín 9)
Casillas; Arbeloa, Ramos, Pepe, Coentrão; Diarra (Khedira 69), Xabi Alonso; Di María, Özil (Kaká 64), Ronaldo; Higuaín (Benzema 82)
• Gonzalo Higuaín, who has struck three hat-tricks this season, scored the only goal as Madrid won their eighth game in succession.
Marcelo (thigh), Kaká (calf), Álvaro Arbeloa (thigh) and Ricardo Carvalho (back) have all remained in Madrid, as has long-term absentee Nuri Şahin (knee). Esteban Granero has shaken off a right foot problem, however, while Raúl Albiol is available after missing Madrid's last five games with a fractured cheekbone.
These teams are meeting for the third successive season and have been paired together in four of the past six campaigns. In 2010/11 Madrid beat Lyon 4-1 on aggregate in the round of 16, drawing 1-1 away, but the previous year it was the French side who had the upper hand.