After the morning's training session, Claude Puel spoke about the draw for the last 16 of the Champions League and the match against Monaco.
OL will be up against Real Madrid in the last 16 of the Champions League. What is your reaction?
It’s a good match to play in. We knew the draw would not be easy for us, but in the end it wasn’t that bad. Their was no ideal draw, we had the choice between the Spanish or the English. Even Sevilla are very strong, especially at home. We will give our all, even if Real are in progression at the moment, they are becoming a real team. At that time, we will be at our real level of performance.
Do you think that this is a more « winnable » tie than last year?
Last year was winnable as well, we proved that in the first leg. We badly dealt with period between the two matches, losing twice against Lille. That paralysed us for the return leg, we didn’t go into it in the best psychological conditions. That should be a lesson for us. It’s do-able and we will do all we can to win. It wil be nice to see Karim Benzema, but nothing more. The final will be in Madrid, but I don’t think they will need that for motivation. It might be stupid saying it but it would be nice to return to Madrid towards the end of the season.
What is OL’s real level this season?
We saw it at the start of the campaign, the players were at their peak and the team play was very interesting, even if there were a few slip ups in our consistency. Our level is rising again, we’re in better form. The way of approaching and investment in matches has been better over the last 2 or 3 matches. Against Boulogne, we did our job. Things can change quickly in football, that is why we have to remain focused in difficult conditions. We have to go to Monaco with the same frame of mind and team spirit.
On a personal level, how are you living this period?
It’s a challenge, just like it is for the players. When you are a competitor you take up challenges. The whistling at Gerland, I didn’t hear it. In a certain way the atmosphere was a good preparation for playing in Monaco.
Is the group stronger after the win over Boulogne?
It’s not necessarily the match against Boulogne, it’s what we are going through at the moment. There were attacks on certain elements of the squad, the club. We are objective: the results and our consistency have not been good enough. It’s interesting to go through this type of situation, as long as you come to terms with it, to face it and to do what we have to in order to correct it. We will all come out of it stronger. A squad is built in the face of adversity. It’s when things are not going so well that the real strength of a squad comes to the forefront. There have been a number of signs recently showing that the sqaud is alive and kicking. Certain elements have rediscovered themselves and have shown the others what they are really like. What we are experiencing is formative for us, we will come out stronger. You have to see the positive side of the situation.
What does the injury situation look like?
A number of players are on their way back. You’ll know more tomorrow when the group for the match against Monaco is announced.