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18.09.2007 19:35

Juninho: “Possession of the ball will be the key”

Anna Segura

Olympique Lyon’s star player Juninho feels the best way to beat Barça is to prevent them from dominating possession. His manager, Alain Perrin agrees that Barça are the obvious favourites for tomorrow night’s opening Champions league clash.

Juninho Pernanbucano is wearing the Olympique Lyon shirt for the seventh season, and after several players left the side this summer, he is now the leader. The Brazilian midfielder is relishing the opportunity to take on the might of Barcelona at the Camp Nou. “We are used to playing at home and keeping possession of the ball. We need to get hold of the ball quickly. Possession will be the important factor.”

Barça most fancied

rplyon1_x2x.jpgBoth Juninho and his coach Alain Perrin believe Barça are not only favourites to win the match, but also to go on and qualify for the knockout stage. “They are the favourites to go through. Stuttgart and ourselves are the teams I think will be fighting over the other place.”

Alain Perrin, managing Olympique for the first time this season, explained that Barça have their history and the kind of players that make us believe they are favourites” but that is not counting out the chance of a surprise because “we have an attacking gameplan and one that means we will be able to make a good game of it.”

Differences between the two sides

entreno_lio2.jpgBarça’s draw in Pamplona and Olympique’s demolishing of Metz (5-1) featured prominently in the questions asked in the Camp Nou pressroom. Juninho feels that Rijkaard “has not have enough time to train. They might not be playing at 100% but we have plenty of reasons to feel worried…we know each other very well, and we are going to have to find their weaknesses.”

Alain Perrin agreed with Juninho that Barça’s slow start to the season counts for little: “They are always going to a big team with big players.” The Frenchman also recognised that “I have not seen many weaknesses in Barça. They are a strong side that plays to 150%. They are clearly talented.”

Soaking up the pressure

entreno_lio1.jpgThe Olympique coach believes that Barça is under more pressure and so “we need to take advantage of being more free.” But most of all Perrin feels that out on the pitch “we have to try to create some kind of balance. We need to defend in the first half and then seek to go out and attack and not lose the ball.” And with players like young striker Karim Benzema in the side, there can be no denying that the French outfit has the potential to do some serious damage.
Juninho: “Possession of the ball will be the key”
Ronaldinho-Juninho, free kick specialists
There will be some mighty duels out on the pitch on Wednesday night. One of the most exciting will involve Juninho and Ronaldinho, two experts at taking free kicks. Asked who he thought would take the free kicks if they both played in the same side, the Lyon star had no doubts in saying “we both would.”

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