Memphis Depay played down talk of a transfer after scoring a hat-trick as Olympique Lyonnais kicked off their campaign with a 4-1 demolition of Dijon FCO on Friday.
“I am focused on OL. I can dream of playing for big clubs but I am just trying to do my best here,” Depay, who has been linked with a move to join former Netherlands coach Ronald Koeman at Barcelona, told reporters at the Groupama Stadium following Lyon’s fine start to the new Ligue 1 Uber Eats season.
Lyon were returning to action little over a week after losing to Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League semi-finals in Lisbon. They will not be in Europe this season, a first for the club in 24 years, which could in theory help them when it comes to the league and challenging Paris Saint-Germain.
'Try to battle PSG'
However, Depay admitted that not having more Champions League football to look forward to was “tough” and added: “I don’t think that not being in Europe is an advantage because when we play in Europe we make progress. We gained confidence and we progressed in our experience. We want to try to battle PSG. We will try to win something. We have to stay focused on our goals and work. We have a great team."
The Dutchman cancelled out Aurélien Scheidler’s opener for the visitors with a penalty late in the first half. After a Wesley Lautoa own goal, Depay made it 3-1 in first-half stoppage time and then scored another penalty to complete his hat-trick after the break.
“It was not my best match personally, but we needed to win and that is what we did,” Depay added. “It is a strange feeling because we have gone from one season to another very fast.”
Depay was deployed in a different role to the Champions League ‘Final Eight’ matches in Lisbon, this time occupying a position just behind the strike pairing of Karl Toko-Ekambi and Moussa Dembélé. That was in part due to the enforced absence of Houssem Aouar after his positive COVID-19 test, but it seemed to bring the best out of the former Manchester United star.
“For 35 minutes we didn’t see Memphis but then he made the difference in the space of 10 minutes thanks to some individual magic,” said OL coach Rudi Garcia.
“Real top players are there to score goals and make goals. It helped us to have Memphis there to make the difference and allow us to go in at half-time in front, so we could be more relaxed in the second half.
“I think we almost played better in the second half, even though we were not as clinical. We attacked and defended together as a team, and when we do that we are very difficult to play against.”