Manager Remi Garde and midfielder Steed Malbranque have revealed
that an ambitious Lyon side will be giving their all to overcome what
they predict as a stern test against Juventus.
The French outfit are unbeaten in their five Europa League home
games so far, but the pair believe that a faultless performance will be
required to maintain that 100 per cent record at the Stade de Gerland
against the Bianconeri in tomorrow’s quarter-final first leg.
Speaking at the club’s pre-match press conference, Garde began:
“We’ve got a mountain in front of us, but we’ll do all in our power to
climb it. We’ll have to play the perfect match tomorrow.”
The team’s coach since June 2011 went on to stress that the scale
of the challenge does not faze his men. Instead, he confirmed that they
are excited to put themselves to the test.
“My players may be young, but they’re ambitious and this type of game will help them grow.
“They can’t wait to give it their all in this showcase. It will be
our 52nd game of the year, but the best men available will be playing
Focusing on the threat Juventus pose to their ambitions of becoming
the first French side to reach the semi-final of the new Europa League,
Garde highlighted Carlos Tevez amongst the strong overall unit
assembled by opposite number Antonio Conte.
“Juve dominate their league and are full of top players. Tevez is a
constant danger and Conte is doing an excellent job: he knows how to
make his team play well.”
Sitting alongside Garde in the press suite was midfielder Malbranque, who echoed the boss’ view of the task facing Lyon.
The 34-year-old began: “We’re up against a big team who are
formidable opposition. We must make the most of this chance and not be
content with just reaching the quarter-finals.”
He went on to admit that a 2-1 defeat to Rhone Valley rivals
Saint-Etienne at the weekend was a bitter pill to swallow, but concluded
by saying that Lyon’s focus is now very much on the quarter-final with
“It was difficult coming to terms with the derby defeat, but now
we’re concentrated on Juventus. I know that the players who line up
tomorrow will do their utmost to get a result.”