Round of 16, second leg – Kick-off: 20-45 (CET)
First leg: Lyon 1-0 Real Madrid
In the wake of Real Madrid’s stirring comeback to defeat Sevilla on Saturday, coach Manuel Pellegrini says he is focused on “calming the team down” for the visit of Lyon.
Real trail 1-0 from the first leg in France three weeks ago, but considering they overturned a 2-0 deficit to Sevilla at the weekend, Pellegrini is confident his players can repeat the feat tonight.
“We know what we need to do,” he said. “I hope we play like we did in the last 70 minutes against Sevilla. There are no easy opponents in the Champions League. I’m sure we are going to reach the quarter-finals but we have to play a good match against a tough team. We can only think about future opponents when we get through this round; for now, we must focus on defeating Lyon.
“We need the fans to get behind us like they were on Saturday because it will be a difficult match. I hope the fans and team can turn this tie around. The atmosphere in our stadium is special and we must use this to our advantage.
“Lyon are a very physical team and they’re coming here on the back of an impressive run without conceding a goal. However, records are there to be broken and hopefully we’ll have the strength to do that.”
Pellegrini is without the injured trio of Pepe, Royston Drenthe and Karim Benzema, while Xabi Alonso and Marcelo are both suspended.
Meanwhile, Lyon coach Claude Puel believes that, with “collective strength”, his side can go through to the Champions League quarter-finals.
“We have to play our own game, it’s as simple as that,” he said. “We lead 1-0 and, though we know Real can score goals, we have to play to score and to qualify. What’s said before the match doesn’t have a lot of importance; the response is on the pitch. Real believe in themselves, but we believe in ourselves. I’ve not thought about what it would mean to get through; we’re here to play and reach the quarter-finals.
“If Cristiano Ronaldo was disappointing in the first match it’s because we did something about it. It’s not just him at Real Madrid, but collectively we have the strength to counter them.
“What we’ve learned from last season [when Lyon lost 5-2 to FC Barcelona following a 1-1 first-leg draw] will be shown on the pitch but obviously that elimination is useful for us.
“We were better in the first leg [this year] and we’re in good shape, apart from the absence of Bastos. It’s annoying to lose him; for this type of game, we need the whole squad.”
Lyon travelled to Spain without the injured Anderson, Francois Clerc and Michel Bastos.