Trophée des Champions: OL out to bounce back
After a complicated pre-season period, Olympique Lyonnais are hoping to make the most of their Trophée des Champions berth and get their season off to a strong start by beating current holders Paris Saint-Germain.
After arriving at Montreal's Trudeau airport on Wednesday afternoon - just minutes before Montreal Impact's new star signing Didier Drogba jetted in - the Olympique Lyonnais players got settled in at their downtown hotel. Following a debriefing and a good night's sleep, they hit the training field on Thursday afternoon.
Hubert Fournier's men undertook a short session on one of the grass pitches at Montreal Impact's training centre - just near the Olympic Park and the Saputo Stadium - focusing on ball work and basics.
Words from the big chair...
Objective: embark on a positive dynamic after a disappointing pre-season. The heavy defeat to Arsenal in the Emirates Cup last weekend (6-0) prompted club president Jean-Michel Aulas to speak out publicly in a bid to motivate his troops.
"It's the president's role to bang his gavel from time to time," said right-back Christophe Jallet. "The players listen and they hear what he has to say. It's perfectly normal: it's the boss talking. We're trying to patch up the shortcomings in our game, but over and above that, we want to honour the club by winning the Trophée des Champions."
"We're not worried," added club captain Maxime Gonalons. "The president said what he was thinking and feeling. From time to time it does you good to get a reality check like that. It put our feet back on the ground, helped us to focus on our values and got us back to work. We had a tough weekend in London and we want to bounce back as quickly as possible."
Njie: 'Turn in a huge performance!'
Evidently, pre-season results and disposable resources would go in favour of Paris Saint-Germain. However, despite having a young squad, OL count several Trophée des Champions habitués among their number: Jérémy Morel, Henri Bedimo, Christophe Jallet, Bakary Koné and Claudio Beauvue are all no strangers to the competition.
"We need to lift our heads after the match against Arsenal," said Clinton Njie, who should line up alongside Alexandre Lacazette and Claudio Beauvue in OL's attack on Saturday. "I think we prepared well during the pre-season, but football is sometimes strange like that. You can't just accept results like that one. All the Lyon lads want to win this trophy. We want to turn in a huge performance against Paris!"