The Lyon coach looks back on the qualification of his players against Juventus on Friday in Turin.
OL’s qualification : “I am proud of my players, of the state of mind that we have shown, already last Friday in the final of the Coupe de la Ligue (loss on penalties against PSG), already in the first leg against Juventus (1-0 victory). And tonight. There was talent, suffering, esprit de corps, solidarity. There was intelligence too. We played with our heart but also with our head. We knew that to get Juve out, we had to do the feat. We had already done it on the way there. Even though we lost tonight, we deserved to go to quarterfinals. If the players needed proof that we could be a great team, competitive at the highest level, because we have just joined the eight best teams in Europe, they got it tonight. It is important. Everyone made the effort for each other. We were united. The sidelines encouraged everyone, it was understood. We also wanted to be up to the task on communication because we know very well that, even if there was no supporter, Juventus has this habit of winning and communicating strongly. And we also fought in communication. We showed talent at times, suffering at other times. (…) I think that we can still improve it on the offensive level and exist more offensively, it is the organization that allows us to fight with the best for the moment. ”
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The last minutes of the game : “I was in the field with my team (smile). We encouraged them. Behind, I heard all the staff, the whole bench. We jumped with them, we tackled with them, we held the ball with them. And we were very well. I told them, during the talk, that we shouldn’t forget the fundamentals when it would be stressful or when there would be pressure, and we did it. We stayed well organized, lucid, we didn’t get angry. We made sure not to go back too far, even if it was difficult… Despite a team which, in terms of size and especially on set pieces, gave its opponent a lot of centimeters, we were efficient. Thanks also to new entrants, Kenny Andersen, Kenny Tete and Thiago Mendes. They brought us freshness and combativeness, lucidity. ”
“Manchester City are superior to us, but so were Juve …”
Manchester City : “Real would have been good, it would have allowed me to see Eden Hazard again. We spoke on the phone and we made an appointment … I would say to Eden “I’m here”, and I would have liked him to be there too. But in any case, we knew that Manchester City, with the result of the first leg, had taken an option on qualifying. We know that we have a way to go which is a real Champions League path. We did a real feat against Juventus. And we will do everything to do the feat against Manchester City. They are superior to us. But Juve were too. That did not prevent us from qualifying. We must not set limits. There is no point in shooting plans over the moon either. On the other hand, it will be necessary to give everything on this semi-final (it is recovered). I hope it will be a revealing slip (smile). On this quarter-final. We have to have confidence in ourselves and think, here too, that we can achieve the feat. ”
Maxence Caqueret (and Lucas Tousart) : “He has magnificently replaced Lucas Tousart, to whom I say hello, like Martin Terrier, they were in the group on the way out. Lucas even scored the winning goal. The qualification is also his. Lucas, thank you for everything you’ve given the club and we’re happy to go to the quarterfinals. And concerning Maxence, he made more kilometers this evening, he still played fair. He helped Léo Dubois and first Jason Denayer, because it was Cristiano Ronaldo’s side, which is a permanent danger. Even if we saw that he left once on the other side and that he put on a mine with his left foot (smile). Maxence is mature despite his young age. And also the recklessness to take full advantage of what happens to him. He is appreciated by his teammates. The big advantage of Maxence is that he plays for the team, for his teammates, to help and not for him. He plays to make the team better. Even if everyone is to be congratulated, yes, the kid is to be congratulated tonight. “
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Physical condition : “Rather than physical condition, my concern is whether we haven’t lost Maxwell Cornet. He told me that he felt muscle pain on one of his last efforts… I hope it doesn’t matter because it is very important that he can be present. Otherwise, we will have to be inventive again… Beyond his case, we were good physically. And the evolution of the match and the score meant that, even if we were tired at one point, in particular Guimaraes and Maxence in the middle, Houssem, we forgot that. We were leading 1-0, we have always been qualified in this match. It helps to make the small meter or even the smallest millimeter in addition that will allow you to counter the opponent or to counter a ball to counter-attack and hope to score that second goal. So far, the physical preparation has been really optimal. We demonstrated it last Friday (against PSG in the Coupe de la Ligue final) and tonight. But it is above all the minds of the guys that are above it right now, in terms of the team.
Interview at a press conference