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Zenit v Lyon: Fournier wants visitors to play with freedom

Lyon coach Hubert Fournier has called for his side to play with more freedom as they seek their first win of this season’s Champions League at Zenit.

The French side head to St Petersburg having taken just one point from their opening pair of Group H encounters.

Fournier’s men were held 1-1 by nine-man Gent in the first game and then lost 1-0 at home to Valencia, leaving Lyon little room for error in Russia against a Zenit side that sits top of the Group with six points.

The visitors will not head into the game on the back of a strong result after being held to a 1-1 draw at Monaco despite the hosts having defender Wallace sent off in the second half.

Lyon have 16 points from 10 games in Ligue 1 and are 10 points behind leaders Paris Saint-Germain.

And Fournier knows what his team need to do in order to gain a confidence-boosting victory to bolster their hopes of progressing to the knock-out stages.

“I regret that there was a lack of enthusiasm. We were playing too far away from each other, even if we had control of the game,” Fournier said after the stalemate with Monaco.

“The second half was better with a lot of chances created. It’s obvious that is it is hard for us to score these days. There were glimpses of good football by half-time.

“I hope we will be better by Tuesday [against Zenit]. We need to play more freely if we want to continue our Champions League dream.

“We reacted well in the second half. This is positive. We even had the chances to win. There were individual and collective shortcomings, though.”

Those shortcomings could be exposed by a Zenit team that has been impressive in front of goal so far in the competition.

Zenit emerged victorious from a thrilling game in their opening match by winning 3-2 at Valencia and made it two victories from two courtesy of a 2-1 defeat of Gent.

However, Zenit displayed plenty of fallibility in a disappointing 2-2 draw with Krasnodar in the Russian Premier League on Saturday and are without midfielder Viktor Fayzulin because of a knee problem.

Lyon meanwhile have a number of injury issues going into the match.

Defender Jeremy Morel is a doubt because of a back problem and forward Aldo Kalulu is expected to be out for two months because of an ankle injury.

Kalulu joins Bakari Kone (foot), Clement Grenier (thigh) and Nabil Fekir (knee) on the sidelines as Lyon aim to get themselves back into contention for progression.

Sun 18 Oct, 2015
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