Gérard Houllier announced a 19-man squad for the visit of Auxerre, thi Sunday at 21 :00. Fred and Karim Benzema are both unavailable, while Tiago is being rested after suffering from a sore knee. Howoever, Sidney Govou returns to the squad…
Gérard Houllier :
Which of your players are currently injured and unavailable for the match against Auxerre?
Fred, Karim Benzema and Tiago are all unavailable. Claudio Caçapa isn’t in the squad either, but that’s my choice. He hasn’t played since the match against Bordeaux. As for Tiago, he took a scan and has taken a knock on the side of his knee. The good news that there was no damage to the meniscus. In fact, it’s probably just a swollen area from a knock he got about a month ago. He’s being rested so that he can resume training normally from the start of next week. It was pretty reassuring news.
How are you approaching a return to League action?
We know what we want to do during this ‘mini-League’ period from now until the winter break. The goal is always the same. We’re not talking about how many points lead we have, but just about the five matches that await us.
It must be good to be back at the Stade Gerland after two weeks without a game on home soil…
I seem to remember that last year we were very good during our away game at PSV before losing 4-1 to Rennes. So we have to be careful. The danger is believing that we can take it easy. It will be tougher than the match against Real Madrid. When we play away in the Champions League, we are always careful.
What do you make of this Auxerre side?
They are going a lot better now than they were. They beat Toulouse away. Then they got a good result, 0-0 against Bordeaux. They’ve got Jelen back, a good player that I saw play in the World Cup. They still have a few out injured and they’ve changed their formation. It will be a tougher game than the one against Nancy, because they have more potential to attack.
Have you spoken to your players about dead-ball situations?
I don’t spend all my time talking about things that aren’t working, even if I did mention it. You also have to say that we don’t concede many goals from dead-ball situations, because we defend well. From set pieces, perhaps we lack a little concentration because there’s almost an explicable relaxation. But it’s not making me lose sleep. If you spend that whole time talking about negative things the players get it into their heads that there’s something wrong.