Gérard Houllier has called up 19 players for Sunday’s match against PSG. Loïc Rémy, Grégory Bettiol and Jérémy Berthod will play with the reserves. Fred and Karim Benzema are still unavailable.
On Sunday you take on PSG… what type of game are you anticipating?
This game will be completely different to the other two with completely different stakes. They will have a diferent team for the third time – we will too. Pauleta didn’t start the first team games but this time he should be there from the kick-off. It will be a tight game because they’ll be coming with a defensive line-up. It’s not going to be open football. We know that in advance. They’ll play like a lot of teams that come here: very compactly with five defenders, sitting back and looking to hit on the counter attack. I read that Puleta said PSG deserved to win the first two games, we’ll be looking to win the third. It’s going to be a great challenge and we’ll have to be at Champions League level.
After what happened last week, do you think this game will be a celebration of football?
The emphasis will be put on the quality of the football. It’s as if football was responsible for the death of that boy. We accuse football of plenty of things it ha no control over. It’s very hard to accept because football remains just a game.
Lyon doesn’t seem as comfortable playing at home…
That’s not true. Against Bucharest there was nothing at stake. Against Auxerre we hit the crossbar twice. We also hit the post against Nancy. As for Valenciennes, they played very well.
The winter break is coming… are you doing anything in particular to maintain your players motivation?
No. When you’ve set goals for yourself there’s no wavering or getting tired of it. This team has an incredible mental freshness. The players love working, as we saw during training on Thursday when they really didn’t hold back anything. Seeing them make such efforts at this time of year impressed everybody present.
How are Fred and Karim Benzema?
Yesterday they had a day off. I’m not taking any risks. I’m very happy with the team we’ve got at the moment that is still registering wins… I’m very pleased. Don’t forget that against Real Madrid we were without Fred, Benzema, Govou and Wiltord.
You know PSG very well. What do you think of their current situation?
I know their president, Alain Cayzac, he’s my friend. Sportingly speaking, it’s very hard for him. The results aren’t there, a supporter is dead, Frau is still suspended, there was the Dhorasso Affair and the game against Toulouse was postponed. I think his declarations have been correct and courageous. The winter break will do him the world of good.
Certain rumours are claiming Milan Barros will soon be joining OL. What’s your reaction to them?
Milan Barros isn’t coming. I never give the same player two chances to say no. Concerning recruitment, I’ve made my position very clear. I said that if we stay with the same squad we coul end up in trouble. I defined the profile of the player I want, but it’s not that easy. I’m not going to waste my energy worrying about things I can’t control.