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Lyon facing Old Trafford test

Latest update : 2008-03-04

Lyon is seeking to book a place in the Champions League quarter-finals in Old Trafford against Manchester United. Two weeks ago, both teams ended with a 1-1 draw in Lyon.

MANCHESTER — Lyon boss Alain Perrin vowed that his side would not be intimidated by Manchester United or the Old Trafford crowd as they seek to book a place in the Champions League quarter-finals here on Tuesday.
   
Perrin acknowledged that Carlos Tevez's late equaliser for United in a 1-1 first leg draw in Lyon had left the English champions as favourites to progress to the last eight, but he insisted his side would take the game to their hosts.
   
"We don't have any questions to ask ourselves," the former Portsmouth manager said.
   
"As things stand if we don't score we are out, so we have no option but to have a go at them. We don't have to go crazy about it but we have to score.
   
"United played a careful match in Lyon with a lot of people in midfield. But they have so much strength on the bench it was normal they should introduce an extra forward once they went a goal down, which is what they did and it paid off for them.
   
"The goal we conceded late on tilted the balance of the tie slightly in favour of United but we have players like [Karim] Benzema, Fred and Juninho who can make the difference in a match like this and allow us to qualify."
   
Perrin confirmed that Brazilian centreback Cris had shown no reaction to his first appearance in six months in a key league win over Lille at the weekend, indicating that Lyon's most experienced defender is likely to start the match.
   
Lyon goalkeeper Gregory Coupet revealed that the squad, who have had a mixed season, had taken heart from the way they outplayed United at times during the first leg.
   
"We were not on our best form at the time, so it was positive to put in a very solid performance. Man Utd showed the depth of quality they have on the bench by scoring the equaliser and we know that, at home, they are even more capable of creating chances.
   
"But the fact that they will go forward will give us our own chances.
   
"For once Lyon is not favourite; so we have to go out and play a 'typically English' game with spirit and determination. If we do that, I see it as 50/50."
   
Lyon are aiming for a seventh straight title — though they face a crucial league clash next Sunday against second-placed Bordeaux — but Coupet acknowledged: "In comparison to Manchester Utd we are still a small club. But that means we can approach the match with desire but with no fear. We have nothing to lose. I think there has been a big change in the morale of the squad in the last few weeks. It could be that this is the match that confirms that."

Date created : 2008-03-04

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