Gérard Houllier talks about Lyon's trip to Rennes. On the eve of the match against a 'good team', he congratulates his players on three superb months and refutes the idea of tired players...
Coupet, Vercoutre - Abidal, Berthod, Clerc, Müller, Squillaci, Réveillère - Malouda, Juninho, Toulalan, Tiago, Govou, Diarra, Källström - Benzema, Carew, Rémy and Wiltord.
Cris is suspended.
Claudio Cacapa is still coming back from injury.
How are the injured players?
Müller is available. He resuled training two weeks ago, but has felt completely okay this week. Will he start against Rennes? You’ll see tomorrow. All I can tell you for sure is that he is travelling with the squad. As for Claudio Caçapa, I need to see the doctor. He still gets pain when he shoots.
Is this trip to Rennes a real ‘banana skin’ of a game?
Every game has its uncertainties. No more, no less. We have too much respect for all of our opponents to say one game will be harder than another.
What do you think of this Rennes side?
They are going a lot better now than at the start of the season when they couldn’t seem to find a foothold. The proof is that they weren’t far from getting a draw at the Parc des Princes. They are a good team who have also received three penalties, by the way. For us, we have the best attack in the league which means we spent the most time in our opponents’ penalty areas, but we have only received one penalty.
Does you lead in the league change anything?
Since the start of the season we’ve been taking each match as it came. Each game is a new page and that’s the same for each of our opponents. We play each and every match to win. Our only problem is to try and do everything we can to win. For the moment it’s working. If you want to win matches you mustn’t start thinking about taking the foot off and calculating with points to win or drop. To do that, you need talent, desire, fight and sacrifice. We know we will suffer at times, just like we did in the final half an hour against Dynamo Kiev. I re-watched the match against Dynamo and I thought it was fantastic. It took a very good Lyon to beat a very good Dynamo. Against Nancy I remind you that we twice hit the woodwork. Against Dynamo we also could have scored more. Every match we play we are creating chances to score. That’s football. If you want to transform every single chance you get, then don’t play football, play basketball or volleyball. I’m happy that for the second time in a row we know haw to hang on for the win. That could come in handy in the future.
Is the absence of Cris a big problem?
No, it’s imperative that a club is able to cover the absence of key players over the course of a season. I don’t want to have to depend on just one player. I great club must deal with everything. Nothing is more important than the team and its results.
If you win, you will equal the record for the most number of consecutive wins in the French league. Are you thinking about that?
That does count, even if I’m not obsessed by it. Another good record is that in the last three months we have won every single game except one draw. It shows real prowess. The people don’t realise just how amazing this run of results is.
Are you worried about tiredness?
I refuse all notions of tiredness or fatigue, whether it be mental or physical. When you win, you are less tired than the others. At the level we’re at, we have to be able to play every three days. Don’t expect to use that excuse. We will not hide behind an excuse as pathetic as fatigue.