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Girard: Montpellier have it all to do

Montpellier head coach Rene Girard says playing Arsenal and then Schalke is a tough introduction to the UEFA Champions League.

French champions Montpellier lost 2-1 at home to Arsenal in their first match of the Champions League group stage last month.

On Wednesday they face Germany’s Schalke in Gelsenkirchen on matchday two.

Girard thinks his side need to win at least one of their away matches in the group to make up for that home defeat to Arsenal.

“I would say that the match against Arsenal was part of a learning curve for us,” he said.

“They were the big team in the group and now we continue by playing another one of the group’s favourites. I think that we are coming here to Schalke with the will and the determination to do something positive.

“I think that the Champions League, it’s another dimension. You can do big league games, but the Champions League, it’s another level.

“Playing Arsenal in the first game, I would not say it was a way to evaluate ourselves, but it was maybe a way to reassure ourselves, to know that we can be up to challenge of the event.

“And I think we proved we can be. There’s plenty to do still, but it gave us confidence.

According to Girard, Montpellier ideally needed to win all three of their games at the Stade de la Mosson to have any chance of qualifying.

“I said it when the draw was done : there are two big teams, Arsenal and Schalke, and then two teams approximately at the same level,” he said, referring to Greek club Olympiakos.

“If we wanted to do something interesting (progress), we needed to be flawless at home.

“We lost against Arsenal so we need to get points away. I don’t know if it’s going to be three points, but even one would be great. One point at Schalke would be good but if we can take three, we won’t say no.”

Wed 3 Oct, 2012
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