Olympique Lyonnais president Jean-Michel Aulas has challenged the players to lift themselves following the Champions League exit to Barcelona and go on to lift a trophy.
Olympique Lyonnais - Montpellier Hérault SC
After the 5-1 loss at the Nou Camp in the second leg of the round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday evening, OL return to league action this Sunday against out-of-form Montpellier at Groupama Stadium. Third in Ligue 1 Conforama heading into Week 29, OL are through to the semi-finals of the Coupe de France with a home tie against Rennes scheduled for April 2.
OL are without a trophy since lifting the Coupe de France in 2012 and the long-serving Aulas is determined for that run to come to an end. Speaking at the Nou Camp, Aulas said: "We have two objectives now, the first is to qualify for the Champions League again and then we have the Coupe de France semi-final to play, and the club absolutely needs to win a trophy. We're going to reinforce the squad for next season."
Lopes "lost consciousness"
Lyon were well in the tie at 2-1 down on Wednesday after Lucas Tousart pulled a goal back with a lovely finish, only to then be on the receiving end of a Lionel Messi masterclass. OL had suffered a major blow in the first half when goalkeeper Anthony Lopes - arguably the club's player of the season to date - was forced off suffering from the after-effects of a collision with Philippe Coutinho.
Aulas revealed: "He lost consciousness and further tests will be required. He took a massive bang to the head and he wasn't in a fit state to continue."
Entering Week 29 seven points back from second-placed LOSC and only three points clear of fourth-placed Olympique de Marseille, OL know they could do with an upturn in form after a run that has seen them collect seven points from five games. MHSC, the 2012 Ligue 1 Conforama champions, have slipped to seventh because of a run of only three wins from their last 16 league matches.
Like Lyon at Strasbourg, Montpellier allowed a two-goal lead to slip last weekend, drawing 2-2 with Angers. It was not the way MHSC wanted to mark their 1,000th top division match and coach Michel Der Zakarian confessed it could have been even worse for the south-coast club.
Der Zakarian said: "We blew up in the second half from a physical, technical and mental standpoint. We were unable to keep the ball and make them run They walked all over us and fortunately Benjamin Lecomte made a couple of saves. We defended very badly for the two goals we conceded. We were punished by Angers and they deserved to come back into the game as they were better than us in the second half."
Lyon: Gorgelin – Rafael, Denayer, Morel, Marçal – Ndombélé, Aouar – Cornet, N.Fekir (cap.), Terrier – Mo. Dembélé
Montpellier: Lecomte – Congré, Hilton (cap.), Cozza – Aguilar, Skhiri, Lasne, Oyongo – Mollet – Laborde, Delort