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By ESPN Staff

Cris plays down knee concerns

Lyon defender Cris has played down concerns about the state of his knee, insisting he just needs more games to get back to his former level.

The Brazilian has been a regular at the heart of Les Gones' defence over the past few years but since he suffered a serious knee-ligament injury last season, he has struggled to recapture his form.

Under new coach Claude Puel, he is no longer an automatic pick and was on the bench on Wednesday for Lyon's 2-2 draw with Fiorentina in the Champions League.

But with some claiming his knee is still causing him grief, he has chosen to put the record straight, denying he needs a new operation and admitting he is simply lacking match sharpness.

"There is no problem with my knee. What I am lacking is playing time, that is all," he said.

"When people see me not playing well and when I am on the bench, they say it is because of my knee. That is wrong.

"You must forget about my knee. It's true that I am not at 100%. But I am no longer at 60%. I am at 80% or 90%.

"I lack a bit of rhythm, that's all. I just need to play."

The 31-year-old insists he does not bear a grudge with Puel, who took over at Lyon during the summer.

"I understand (his choices) and I respect him, but I can't accept them," he added.

"The day I accept being on the bench, I will end up staying there all season.

"He doesn't speak a lot, he just stays in his corner. But I have confidence in myself.

"I hope that with two more matches under my belt, I will have found my best level."

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