UWCL PREVIEW: Lyon Playing it Cool

Lyon Head Coach Gérard Prêcheur insists emotion will not play a part in tomorrow’s UEFA Women’s Champions League Final, with three of the club’s longest serving players due to participate for the club for the last time.

Amandine Henry, Louisa Necib and Lotta Schelin are all set to leave the club this summer, with the showpiece final their final swansong before departing.

With emotions sure to be high due to the imminent departures, coach Prêcheur was quick to play down the influence this might have on the game, highlighting that the players know their objectives.

He said: “It (the emotion) interests you (the media) perhaps more than me, in Lyon things are simple and clear.

“When you play here, you play to win all cups – the national league, the French Cup and the Champions League – two objectives are already fulfilled, and now we are very concentrated on the third.

“We are proud of what we did. I understand your point, it’s normal to emotionalise this game, but it’s not my priority. I have to focus on this game.

“We are a collective-based team and these players you mention, will only be individually strong if collective strength is there, personal emotions will be left behind.”

Lotta Schelin in action against Wolfsburg in the UWCL final in 2013 (Action Images)

Schelin has spent eight years with the club and has won every major honour. With Swedish media taking an interest in her final game for the French side, coach Prêcheur was quick to praise her, saying in English, “Big class, big woman,” before going onto sing her praises further in French.

For players Camille Abily and Wendi Renard, the final presents an opportunity to claim the club’s first European title in four years – the last coming in Munich in 2012.

Rightfully, it is difficult to question the ability and class of the French, but some have questioned the mental strength when you consider France’s performances in the latter stages of major tournaments, and Lyon’s exits in the last 16 of the Champions League in the last two years.

However, Renard was quick to play this down, and said the team was ‘ready to fight.’

“We must be aware that we find ourselves in a final, it will be important to have a physical impact,” she said.

They (Wolfsburg) are solid and so are we. We are ready for tomorrow’s fight, but we know we have qualities in terms of play.

“Our style is something we can try and impose. We feel mentality ready, we have been preparing for this for weeks – its up to us to show that on the pitch.”

The UEFA Women’s Champions League Final can be seen live on Eurosport 2 at 4.45pm UK time, broadcast from the Mapei Stadium in Reggio Emilia. She Kicks will have reaction soon after the game.

Stadio Città del Tricolore – Reggio Emilia 26/05/2016 – 18:00CET (18:00 local time)