Lyon open their campaign against Manchester United FC at the Stade Gerland with coach Paul le Guen confident they can surpass last season’s quarter-final spot.
“We’ve added quality players in important positions and I believe we’re a stronger side,” said Le Guen.
“The new recruits are settling quickly and we can certainly have ambitions of getting past the group phase.”
Le Guen has signed Pierre-Alain Frau from Sochaux, former Arsenal striker Sylvain Wiltord and the Brazilian Honorato da Silva ‘Nilmar’.
With Giovane Elber a long-term casualty, Le Guen is likely to start with Wiltord and Frau up front.
Meanwhile, Manchester have begun the season poorly and matters have npt been helped by a string of injuries to key players.
Louis Saha, Wayne Rooney and Ole Gunnar Solskjær are all out. Ruud van Nistelrooy has only just returned from injury and looks set to start again alongside Alan Smith as United go looking for the win.
“Scoring goals away from home in Europe is important because it sends a message to your opponent,” United manager Sir Alex Ferguson explained.
“We’ll go out and attack because that’s the way we play.”
United are also without Gary Neville and the suspended Rio Ferdinand.
“I’m not here to talk about that,” added Ferguson. “We’ve come here with 20 fit players, most of whom are internationals. This is a big European game, the sort my players enjoy and usually excel in. I hope that will be the case again.”
Le Guen was certainly not being fooled by the injru concerns of his counterpart.
“I don’t agree with people who say it’s a good time to play Manchester United,” he said. “They’re getting big players back at an important time and they’re still a good side. We will have to be up for it from the very first kick.”