Making his first ever trip to the Ukraine, OLympique Lyonnais’ President Jean-Michel Aulas insisted his side remain extremely vigilant, but also congratulated the players on their professionalism on the road and highlighted the need to recover after the weekend’s win over Saint-Etienne...
No, not yet. It’s a first for me because I didn’t follow the French team here in 1999. We can’t wait to see this stadium that is apparently something to see. We are also a bit wary because Dynamo recorded a very good win at the weekend. It’s their last chance to qualify and we know it will be a very tough match.
An important match for you too, because a win will move you closer to the second phase...
True, but even a draw would see us in a strong position. The most important thing is not to lose and try to do everything we can to have a maximum nine points for the qualification. But we will have to be extremely careful. We’re in the Ukraine and it gets very cold here. We’re a long way from home and all the experts say that Dynamo has very good players that haven’t yet shown their full worth. Gérard Houllier reminded the squad yesterday that a lot of teams have managed to qualify after losing their first two games. We’ll have to be focused and keep are good run going. I repeat: we are not taking anything for granted and must be ready for a real battle. It’s with confidence, but also a question mark, that I approach this match.
The wins that Lyon has recorded away from home in tough conditions, like the one against Sochaux, is that reassuring?
Yes and that was a great rehearsal for this. I think the weather will probably improve on Tuesday, but there’s still a risk that it will be very, very cold. It could be the first match of the season with temperatures below zero.
Was it to get used to these conditions that you came to the Ukraine on Sunday?
It’s a new plan from Gérard Houllier who this season wants the players to have had two nights sleep before a big European away match. It takes these two full days to get right into the feel after a league match and before a continental one.