Aulas: 'An important test'
Olympique Lyonnais president Jean-Michel Aulas sees Friday's clash with Rhône derby rivals Saint-Etienne as the perfect opportunity for his side to test their mettle and establish some consistency ahead of an important meeting with Manchester City.
Lyon have shone brightly at times this season - notably claiming a shock 2-1 win away to Manchester City on UCL Matchday 1 - but have also had to endure some nightmare matches like their 5-0 drubbing away to Paris Saint-Germain in Week 9.
Time to step up
And although OL have gone undefeated since that defeat in the capital, president Jean-Michel Aulas believes that Friday's clash with bitter local rivals Saint-Etienne - who sit just a point behind them on the Ligue 1 Conforama table - at Groupama Stadium could prove crucial at an important juncture in the season.
"We're heading into this match with the full support of all our fans; the stadium will be packed. We face Manchester city shortly afterwards. We played an extraordinary match over there, and we need to keep playing extraordinary matches. These two upcoming clashes will bring a combined total of almost 120,000 people to Groupama Stadium. Saint-Etienne are having a good season, so this is an important test. We need to win it."
'You have to be enthusiastic'
Should OL manage to take all the points and leave their neighbours four points adrift, it would give coach Bruno Genesio, who has borne the brunt of much criticism over the team’s erratic form, some welcome breathing space.
"I treat any criticism of Bruno as objectively as possible," Aulas explained. "We have our benchmarks. I look at the results and how the players respond to what Bruno has to say. Criticism is always positive when you know how to respond to it. You have to be enthusiastic and, when there are errors, you try to rectify them."
Friday’s clash between the Rhône derby rivals will the 56th to be played in France’s top flight in Lyon. OL currently enjoy the better head-to-head record in the fixture, with 22 wins, 19 draws and 13 defeats against Les Verts, but will be out to improve on the 1-1 draw they got last time the fixture was played.