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Luis Enrique expects PSG to get serious for trip to strugglers Lyon

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 2 Sep 2023

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Paris St Germain coach Luis Enrique is preparing for the usual intensity in his side’s game against Lyon despite both teams’ below-par starts to the season.

PSG finally got up and running with victory over Lens, following draws with Lorient and Toulouse. On Sunday, they visit a winless Lyon side who are kept off the bottom of Ligue 1 only by Clermont.

“We have prepared for tomorrow’s game in the same way as every game at Paris St Germain – with a serious approach, with professionalism,” Enrique said at a pre-match press conference broadcast on the club’s website.

“Lyon are a big historic club. They are one of best sides in this league and have very good players, a very good coach who I know well and played with at Barcelona, Laurent Blanc.

“It will be a tough game at a fantastic stadium with a brilliant atmosphere, the kind we like to play in. It will certainly be a difficult game. We have prepared as well as we can to try to get the three points.”

Deadline-day signing Randal Kolo Muani is still recovering from an ankle injury, but fellow newcomer Bradley Barcola will be in the squad against his former club.

Enrique said of Barcola: “He is good at dribbling down the wing and he can play as a number nine inside. We really like him and he strengthens the squad for the future as well. I think it is a great signing.”

The pair’s arrivals will increase the competition for places up front, but asked if that could push another recent recruit in Goncalo Ramos to the bench, Enrique played down any concern.

“I didn’t know Goncalo Ramos was going to be a substitute,” he said.

“I want 20 starters, not 11, 12, or 13. If we have 22 starters we are ready for any competition. That is the aim.

“There are very few substitutes here.”

Presnel Kimpembe, Lee Kang-in and left-back Nuno Mendes remain sidelined for Sunday’s game.

Lyon are without Alexandre Lacazette and Dejan Lovren, but could welcome back goalkeeper Anthony Lopes, who has trained with the squad for the first time since a pre-season facial injury.

Lopes’ return would be a boost to a defence which conceded four goals in Lyon’s previous home game against Montpellier.

Lyon manager Blanc said: “He is recovering very well. There will certainly be a discussion with the medical staff to make a decision. It’s good news to see him training with us.

“This game against Paris can help us to launch our season. Hosting Paris is not necessarily ideal to relaunch yourself, but maybe it can be the chance to erase the bad things that happened against Montpellier.

“Paris played a great match against Lens. They are a team with a lot of very good individuals.

“Anything is possible, but regardless of the system, it is PSG we are up against.”

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