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Training camp

Lyon opt for retreat to hone focus

Bayern spent Saturday in Mönchengladbach for a vital league fixture, but Olympique Lyon, currently third in Ligue 1, had the weekend off after postponing their meeting with Monaco until 12 May. The free time was to allow Les Gones better conditions in which to prepare for the Champions League semi-final return against Munich. The OL party arrived at a specially-convened training camp some 40 km to the north of the city on Saturday afternoon.

“The idea is to spend time together and keep our concentration high ready for the match,” coach Claude Puel explained. Remaining in Lyon could have been distracting, Puel indicated. “We won’t lose focus at a training camp.”

Change in attitude

Having postponed their league fixture, Puel knows he will have to wok on keeping his players match-fresh. The squad were ordered to report for an intensive training workout on Saturday morning at the club’s Tola-Vologe facility. “The task now is to charge our batteries. We’ve done the basic work, now it’s about fine-tuning.”

The players know they will need to step up a gear compared to the performance in Munich last Wednesday. “We need to cut out the errors, and adopt a different attitude and mentality,” declared striker Lisandro Lopez, calling for a more attacking approach: “We were too defensive.”

Cris doubtful, Boumsong a contender

Olympique are fired up for the semi-final return. “We’re very motivated,” said Lopez, “it could be a historic moment for the club and most of the players.” The French side are concerned about captain Cris, who injured a knee in Munich and was described by Puel as “not certain” for Tuesday.

However, fellow centre-back Jean-Alain Boumsong has shaken off a calf injury and resumed the team training programme. The France international will be named in the squad, Puel said. Defender Jérémy Toulalan was sent off for two bookable offences in Munich and automatically misses the second leg. “Toulalan is important to us. Losing him could hurt us,” opined Lopez.

Lopez rises to Ribéry’s defence

Bayern man Franck Ribéry also misses the match with suspension after seeing a red card for a foul on Lopez. The OL striker feels Ribéry “didn’t do it deliberately. He went for the ball, but I was quicker.” However, the sending off was the right decision, according to Lopez.