Olympique Lyon take on Manchester United in the UEFA Champions League, last 16, first leg tie this week and Lyon star Juninho is already singing praises of the Red Devils. The 31-year old Brazilian ace says that along with Italian giants Inter Milan, the reigning English Premier League champions are the best team in Europe at the moment but insists that this respect doesn’t imply that Lyon are the underdogs in this particular tie.
Manchester United are certainly the best team in Europe with Inter. They impressed again at the weekend against Arsenal. It’s a huge game but a doable one. We made lots of effort to play the last 16 games. We are not going to give up before the match.
First of all we will try to achieve a good result in the first leg. First we’ll improve our football and then try to win.
A draw or a defeat would be bad results. We are currently assuming that the loss of players such as Cris (injured), Florent Malouda, Eric Abidal, Tiago, and Sylvain Wiltord have been a lot.
You need technique but strong characters as well to win silverware. We proved a number of times our capacity to achieve big matches, at Glasgow, Stuttgart, or even Paris.
We are capable of big things and a minute after very bad ones. We have to try and find the balance.
To be honest, Manchester United are the favourites and they do have better individuals and more class than Lyon do. Yet you can argue with Juninho’s belief that Man United and Inter Milan are the two best teams in the UEFA Champions League. United are heavily reliant on their first team players while although Inter do possess large squad, the Nerazzuri are not a posh side and can crumble against better opposition in Europe. Real Madrid and FC Barcelona have better and more balanced teams that United do and the reigning Spanish champions have one of the largest and deepest squads in Europe.