Steaua Bucharest coach Cosmin Olaroiu was generous in his description of Lyon on the eve of their Champions League encounter in Romania. But, despite the respect he has for tonight’s opponents, Olaroiu says: “our aim is to win”.
“We’re approaching the most important match we will play in this section,” he said.
“Lyon are group favourites. They are very organised and the fact they’ve won five French titles in a row speaks volumes. They have a fantastic balance between individual talent and team organisation.”
Both teams won their opening games – Steaua with an emphatic 4-1 victory at Dynamo Kyiv – but it was Lyon’s 2-0 victory over Real Madrid that attracted the headlines.
“Every Lyon player is capable of causing us problems,” Olaroiu continued.
“To be honest, I followed them in last season’s Champions League and was unhappy when they lost in the last minute in the quarter-finals. But every side has their weaknesses. There’s no such thing as a perfect team.”
Steaua have been hit by long-term injuries to Mirel Radoi and Victoras Iacob while Vasilica Cristocea and Sorin Paraschiv face late fitness tests.
Meanwhile, Lyon coach Gerrard Houllier is hoping to maintain his side’s 100 per cent record thus far.
“We are here to win,” he said. “We always have a positive attitude, an attacking one. The idea is to control the match and to pose a threat all the time.”
“I was very impressed by their win in Kiev and it wasn’t a lucky win. It was the victory of a team with a cohesive squad of players and few weaknesses,” added Houllier.
Lyon are without the injured Claudio Cacapa though club’s strength in depth means that they will start the match as strong favourites to take all three points.
Carlos Alberto Fernandes; Petre Marin, Dorin Goian, Sorin Ghionea, Mihai Nesu; Banel Nicolita, Sorin Paraschiv, Florin Lovin, Gabriel Bostina; Nicolae Dica, Valentin Badea.
Gregory Coupet; Anthony Réveillère, Cris, Patrick Müller, Eric Abidal; Jérémy Toulalan, Tiago, Juninho Pernambucano; Florent Malouda, Fred, Sidney Govou.