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Thursday, January 29, 2009
Puel happy with Lyon squad as deadline nears

Lyon coach Claude Puel believes his side's 1-0 win over Marseille in the Coupe de France proves Les Gones do not necessarily have to add to their squad in January.

The holders and current Ligue 1 leaders stayed on course for a second consecutive league-and-cup double with a deserved victory over their fellow French giants at the Stade Gerland.

Striker Karim Benzema scored the only goal of the game, in the second minute, and Lyon went on to control matters, even in the last half hour when they were reduced to 10 men following the sending-off of winger Kader Keita for two yellow cards.

They are unbeaten since the start of December and with a number of players on the road back to full fitness after serious injury, the squad is starting to look much stronger.

Lyon have been linked with a host of players in the January transfer window but Puel maintains he is happy with what he has got, especially if the results keep coming.

"This performance reminds me of what we have done since the start of the year, except against Lorient at home," said Puel, whose side will face his former employers Lille in the last 32.

"I have demanded we continue like this and it gives me a lot of pleasure to see the players rewarded for their efforts.

"The squad is competitive, it is focused and there is competition. Maybe our recruits will be (Mathieu) Bodmer, (Fabio) Santos or (Francois) Clerc, who are coming back for us. We will see."

Benzema's goal came after Cesar Delgado had intercepted a sloppy pass by OM centre-back Ronald Zubar, the Argentinian controlling and pushing forward before teeing up the France international for a simple finish from six yards.

It was always going to be an uphill struggle after that for the visitors, who did not really get going, and their recent recruit Brandao looked isolated up front.

"The best team won, that is obvious," said OM coach Eric Gerets.

"After our poor start, Lyon could take a bit more confidence. And their pressing game all over the pitch really complicated our task.

"Lyon proved they are a hell of a team."

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