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Lyon looking for league distraction

Lyon coach Remi Garde hopes the Champions League will provide a welcome distraction from his side's Ligue 1 travails after Saturday's dismal defeat to Caen.

Les Gones are fourth in the league but their eighth defeat of the season left them 11 points adrift of leaders Paris St Germain and Garde joined club president Jean-Michel Aulas in demanding an immediate response against APOEL Nicosia.

''We have eight defeats in the league, which is far too many,'' Garde told Olweb. ''We have a difficult meeting with APOEL. When you play often you have to find a way to lift yourself, I hope that the Champions League can help us do that.''

Aulas was stronger in his condemnation, adding: ''We have to take a look at ourselves and work out what we did wrong before the Champions League match. You have to react when you lose at home to the team 16th in the league.''

APOEL captain Constantinos Charalambides, who signed a new three-and-a-half-year deal in January, is relishing the opportunity for another upset in his side's impressive European campaign, which saw them top a group containing Zenit St Petersburg, Porto and Shakhtar Donetsk to become the first Cypriot team to reach the knockout stages.

He told UEFA: ''We knew that whichever team we faced would be difficult, and have a Champions League history.

''They (Lyon) are clearly a bigger club than us with a much bigger budget and better footballers but that doesn't mean anything as we have shown that a small team can reach the knockout stage of the competition and do just as well in this next stage.

''I am convinced we can do to Lyon exactly what we did in our group to Shakhtar, Porto and Zenit.''


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