Puel: Lyon have what it takes
Claude Puel has urged his Lyon players not to think of their Champions League semi-final against Bayern Munich as the end of the road.
The French outfit head into the clash as underdogs against a Bayern team who are full of confidence having seen off Manchester United in the previous round and demolished Hannover 7-0 at the weekend.
However, Lyon have been in impressive form themselves in the competition and a shock second-leg draw against Real Madrid in the Bernabeu saw them progress to the quarter-finals, where they eased past Bordeaux.
And Puel believes it is by no means out of the question for his team to get another good result at the Allianz Arena on Wednesday night.
"Everything is possible for us, as much as for Bayern," he said. "It is important to do well in the first match and not hypothesise over the second.
"This time we're playing the second leg at home so it's a bit different. "It's very good to get to the semi-finals but this should not be the end of our ambitions. I don't think the players think that. "Bayern are a huge team and it will be difficult but very equal."
Lyon have had to embark on a mammoth road journey after their travel plans were thrown into disarray when 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 Claude Puel's men arrived in Munich at 12.30pm on Tuesday. Fortunately for them they will have time to recover as their weekend game against Monaco has been postponed until next month to give them more time to prepare ahead of the second leg. That caused some upset in the Bayern camp and the German team complained to UEFA, but to no avail.
"It's quite funny," said Puel. "Last season (before their group stage meeting) Bayern moved their match to Friday while we played away from home at 9pm Saturday night. "We didn't say anything because we had nothing to say.
"This time we had our match against Monaco postponed. It's also true that we have had a very interesting trip. "As I read in one paper, they postponed the match against Monaco so that they could be sure we were back in Lyon in time for the return match against Bayern!"
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.
Puel insists that will not affect the way they face the clash. "There's no calculations to make and no holding back," he added.
"We have quite a few players who could be suspended but that's how it is. "These are the hazards and we will deal with it if it happens."
Francois Clerc, Joan Hartock, Mathieu Bodmer and Jean-Alain Boumsong miss out through injury while Dejan Lovren is ineligible for the competition.