Puel laughs off Lloris distraction

Puel laughs off Lloris distraction

Published Apr. 21, 2010 10:15 a.m. ET

Lyon coach Claude Puel is sure Hugo Lloris will deal with the talk linking him with Bayern Munich ahead of tonight's Champions League semi.

The two teams meet in the first leg of their last-four clash at the Allianz Arena tonight with speculation rife that Lloris could be facing his next set of team-mates.

Former Bayern and France duo Bixente Lizarazu and Willy Sagnol have urged the Bundesliga side to recruit the 23-year-old this summer, something which Puel believes the national team shot-stopper will take in his stride.

"First of all I'm very happy to have good players who are in demand outside the transfer window," he said.

"It's amusing to talk about players before a Champions League match. Luckily, Hugo has enough maturity to deal with all this.

"It's really a pity to hear these type of things from players who spent time at Bayern and who know the importance of focus for this type of match.

"But oh well. There's no real problem.

"I'm sure the Bayern goalkeeper will appreciate it!"

Lyon have seven players who will be suspended for the return leg if they pick up another booking, with Aly Cissokho, Cesar Delgado, Maxime Gonalons, Kim Kallstrom, Cris, Miralem Pjanic and Jeremy Toulalan all desperate to avoid a yellow card.

Bayern will be favourites going into the clash, especially following Lyon's travel woes.

The French side were forced to make the journey by road after the ash cloud caused by Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajokull brought about the closure of much of Europe's airspace.

The 800-kilometre journey ultimately entailed around 10 hours of travelling, split up by an overnight stay in Stuttgart, before Puel's men arrived in Munich at 12.30pm yesterday.

Fatigue is an obvious concern, but Bayern defender Philipp Lahm has played down its impact and believes adrenaline will ensure Lyon remain competitive.

"I think it's bothersome before a match like this," he said.

"But on the day of the match you are so full of adrenaline, you won't think about it."

The Germany full-back feels defence holds the key as his side seek to establish a first-leg advantage.

"Semi-finals are usually balanced," he said.

"I think they have respect for us, they know we can always score, but they are also very strong. We are in very good form, though.

"We will try not to concede a goal - 1-0 would be good, 2-0 would be better and a win always better than a draw."