Coach Claude Puel has warned against reading too much into Lyon’s success against Fiorentina last term as they prepare to meet Cesare Prandelli’s side in the group stage once again.
The Group E match at the Stade de Gerland sees the two teams come face-to-face twelve months after their last encounter.
“Just because we beat them 2-1 in Italy last year, we shouldn’t think we have a psychological advantage,” said puel. “We drew 2-2 at home before that, when Fiorentina had a two-goal lead at half-time.
“It’s a new season for us. We have made a number of changes to our squad while Fiorentina have kept practically the same team. They know each other really well, so it will be difficult for us.
“We have made a good start this season, but you have to wait before judging us, you need a full season before drawing conclusions. I think three teams will contest the two qualifying places – Liverpool, Lyon and Fiorentina – yet we also have to pay attention to Debrecen.
We are not afraid of Fiorentina, but we have a lot of respect for them. They are great up front and we’ll have to be wary of Gilardino and Jovetic’s partnership. Lisandro has been training on his own recently, but his fitness is improving.”
Puel will definitely be without the injured trio of Anderson, Ederson and Jean-Alain Boumsong, but he is hopeful that Lisandro will be able to play some part tonight.
Fiorentina coach Prandelli believes Lyon are a stronger side than they were 12 months ago, but he is optimistic of getting a result tonight.
“Lyon are a very strong team, well-organised and blessed with quality individuals,” he said.
“I think Lyon as a team are better than last year. That’s why we’ll have to start the game with the right enthusiasm, courage and spirit. But we are here to have fun as well and show we can win.
“The pitch might not be in the best condition because of the rain, but we are used to playing good football and that’s what we want to do against Lyon. We can win. Mutu has been named in the squad so we’ll see what happens.”
Mutu’s return would be a boost for Prandelli as he is already without Jose Ignacio Castillo, Lorenzo De Silvestri and Per Kroldrup, as well as the supended Cristiano Zanetti.