Blanc tells Bordeaux to refocus
Bordeaux coach Laurent Blanc has told his players to shrug off the disappointment of their League Cup final defeat and focus on Tuesday's UEFA Champions League quarter-final first leg at Lyon.
Holders Bordeaux were defeated 3-1 by Marseille in Saturday's final in Paris and have also seen a nine-point lead in the French first division whittled down to goal difference by Montpellier. Defeat in a physical match to Marseille was far from ideal preparation for their trip to domestic rivals Lyon and Blanc says the reigning French champions must get the loss out of their system as quickly as possible.
"We're lucky in a way because we have an important match on Tuesday in the quarter-finals of the Champions League," said Blanc, whose side have not reached this stage of Europe's top club tournament since 1988. "We'll have to bounce back quickly, get over this disappointment and throw ourselves into this important match.
"If we had a week to prepare, we'd be able to assess everything. Even though it's always better to win before a match like this, we haven't got the time. We have to get our heads in the right place."
Blanc made his priorities clear during Saturday's final by withdrawing playmaker Yoann Gourcuff and striker Marouane Chamakh with 20 minutes still to play and the score 2-0. "We had planned certain things, but not necessarily in that way," admitted Blanc, who guided Les Girondins to the league title last season.
"I'd said it was the paradox of the final. We had to prepare for it while preparing for the next match at the same time. I had several options open to me. I chose one. We'll find out on Tuesday if I was right or not."
Bordeaux skipper Alou Diarra misses Tuesday's match at the Stade Gerland through suspension, while centre-back Marc Planus remains sidelined with a knee ligament injury. Lyon, who eliminated Real Madrid in the previous round, geared up for the visit of Bordeaux with a 2-0 win over bottom club Grenoble on Saturday.
It was a welcome fillip for Claude Puel's side, after a damaging 2-1 defeat to Marseille in the league the previous weekend and an unedifying spat with Bordeaux over the scheduling of the match with Grenoble, which was originally due to take place on Friday. "It's always better to win the match before the Champions League," said Puel.
"Even though we want to prepare ourselves well psychologically, your head can always be turned towards Tuesday's match. It's for that reason that we had to deal with Saturday's match well."
Lyon, seven-time French champions from 2002 to 2008, will be competing in their fourth Champions League quarter-final but have never progressed to the last four. They are unbeaten at home in the competition this season, though, and Bosnian midfielder Miralem Pjanic anticipates a tight first leg. "It's particularly important not to concede any goals," said the 19-year-old. "We know what happens to us when we don't concede. It gives us confidence."
A late Chamakh header gave Bordeaux a 1-0 victory when the sides last met in the league in December and Pjanic concedes that his side are gunning for revenge. "The game was very competitive and very even," he recalled. "We would have deserved a draw. We want to get a kind of revenge against them but we have to remember that they are two very different matches."
Full-back Francois Clerc will not feature for Lyon despite having resumed training following surgery on a knee problem, but centre-back Jean-Alain Boumsong could make the bench after overcoming a calf injury.
The second leg in Bordeaux takes place on 7 April, with the winners of the quarter-final between Bayern Munich and Manchester United awaiting the victors in the last four.