Lyon coach Claude Puel has warned his players to expect a backlash from Steaua Bucurest following the French side’s 5-3 triumph in Romania.
Steaua were 3-2 ahead at the break before an impressive comeback revival clinched Lyon’s first Champions League victory of the season. The result left Steaua with one point from three games and prompted the resignation of their coach Marius Lacatus Replacement Dorinel Munteanu enjoyed a promising start with a useful 1-1 draw at Liga 1 leaders Dinamo Bucharest on Saturday.
Puel is wary that Munteanu’s arrival might provoke a response from the Steaua players.
“The arrival of a new coach often brings freshness, with players starting from scratch and trying to impress,” Puel said. “Steaua looked extremely determined and motivated against Dinamo and they should probably have won. We’ll need to be careful. Just because we did something remarkable over there doesn’t automatically mean we’ll be superior at home.”
Puel is considering a change from Lyon’s traditional 4-3-3 formation.
“It’s possible to employ any system if you have the right players,” he added. “We showed in the second half against Fiorentina and Steaua that [4-4-2] can work.”
Lyon will be without the trio of Sidney Govou, Mathieu Bodmer and Francois Clerc through respective ankle, groin and knee injuries.
Meanwhile, Munteanu was happy to focus on the threat posed by Lyon striker Karim Benzema.
“Benzema’s one of the best players in the world,” he said. “We’ve given a lot of thought to how to neutralise him, but if he’s in top form I’m not sure how we will stop him.”
The recently-appointed coach admits to nerves ahead of his Champions League coaching debut.
“It’s normal to feel nervous, especially before a big European match,” said the ex-Steaua midfielder. “I may not have much experience but we have a lot of experienced players and they’re all ready to rise to the challenge.”
Munteanu, who is without injured defender Petre Marin, watched the Matchday 3 encounter on television and believes he has identified some flaws in Lyon’s play
“They’re strong but they have weaknesses,” he continued. “I’ve watched the game again very carefully, especially the moments when Steaua were on top, and I’ve prepared my players extremely well.”