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Barca wary of Lyon's talents; French side look to limit Messi

Credit: Reuters - Sports
Published on February 18, 2019 - Duration: 01:25s

Barca wary of Lyon's talents; French side look to limit Messi

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde and player Sergio Busquets both revealed their side are wary of Lyon's attacking talents, whilst the French side made clear they would look to limit the influence of Lionel Messi.

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Barca wary of Lyon's talents; French side look to limit Messi

SHOWS: LYON, FRANCE (FEBRUARY 18, 2019) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 1.

(SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) FC BARCELONA MIDFIELDER, SERGIO BUSQUETS, SAYING: "Impressed, I don't know, I think we have a lot of respect for Olympic Lyon.

We have seen what they did against great teams recently, like PSG and Manchester City, but this is a completely different context so we hope this time it will be different." 2.

WHITE FLASH 3.

(SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) FC BARCELONA COACH, ERNESTO VALVERDE, SAYING: "We have been waiting to play this match for a long time and Lyon have been as well.

So, we are very hungry to finally play this game.

We know this is a great team and they are very good in this competition.

They did not lose here when they play at home.

So, this is a team we can fear here.

They have a good attack, they try to keep the ball, they have a lot of attackomh players that move well, so it is going to be a complicated match." 4.

(SOUNDBITE) (French) LYON COACH, BRUNO GENESIO, SAYING: "The answer regarding individual marking against Messi, it is for me obsolete because against such a player, at one point, he will find the solution.

Putting a lot of players around him, yes, I think it can reduce his influence, even if we know that, when he is in good shape, even with that pressure on him, he is able to see things that no-one else can see and do things that no one else can do.

But in any case, yes, the plan is to do that, we will set up something to reduce his influence on the game." STORY: With Lyon having beaten Paris St Germain in Ligue 1 and Manchester City in the group phase of the Champions League, Barcelona are well aware of the trap they could be stepping into when they face the French club.

Lyon handed PSG their only league defeat a couple of weeks ago and claimed a 2-1 win at Manchester City in the group phase, showing they have a capacity to raise their level when it matters.

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde noted Lyon were undefeated in the competition and said the match will be "a complicated game".

In turn, Lyon said they will be out to 'reduce' the influence of Lionel Messi when they host Barcelona in their Champions League last-16 first leg without their talisman and captain Nabil Fekir on Tuesday (February 19).

Fekir will be suspended for the game, limiting Lyon's striking power as Bruno Genesio's side will rely on defender Ferland Mendy to contain Argentine forward Messi and French striker Ousmane Dembele.

Despite Messi having scored more than 100 times in the Champions League, Lyon midfielder Houssem Aouar has confidence in his team mate Mendy to control proceedings at the Groupama Stadium.

"I think that Ferland Mendy is ready to face Messi," he said.

"We are confident in the qualities of our squad." Aouar's enthusiasm may yet be dented as Lyon are also sweating on the fitness of defender Jason Denayer and midfielder Tanguy Ndombele.

The French side geared up for Tuesday's clash with a hard-fought 2-1 Ligue 1 win against Guingamp on Friday while Barca needed a Messi penalty to beat Real Valladolid 1-0 in La Liga on Saturday.

Lyon are the clear underdogs but they have already shown they can rise up to the big occasions, inflicting Paris St Germain's only Ligue 1 defeat of the season a couple of weeks ago.

They also beat English champions Manchester City in the Champions League group stage in September.

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