Posted on Apr 13
Lyon coach Remi Garde hopes Saturday's League Cup final against Marseille will provide a springboard for his side's bid to finish the season with two cup medals and a Champions League place under their belts.
Since being eliminated from this season's Champions League by Cypriot minnows APOEL in March, OL have won six and drawn one of their last seven games.
Their springtime burst of victories has taken them to within three points of a top-three finish in Ligue 1 and set up a French Cup final appearance against third-tier Quevilly on April 28.
Despite the accumulation of fixtures that his side's twin cup runs have generated, Garde says he is not thinking about rotating his squad for Saturday's showdown at Stade de France.
"We want to give everything in this final, not make calculations," he said.
"We've been able to do that so far and still remain competitive on three fronts. I want to continue with those principles until the end.
"Winning a trophy would be a better omen than losing, for the matches that follow. But if the opposite happens, I think we'd be able to pick ourselves up.
"It could be a fantastic catalyst for the squad for the end of the season. It would enable us to really build up confidence."
Marseille's form could not be any more different, with Didier Deschamps' side having now gone 12 matches without tasting victory in all competitions.
The slump has seen OM eliminated from both the Champions League and the French Cup (by Quevilly), as well as sliding to ninth place in Ligue 1, but Garde says his team cannot afford any complacency.
"We won't have any superiority complex," he said.
"It's not in my personality and it's not in my squad's genes. We've also had a season that's sometimes forced us to show lots of humility.
"We've had difficult moments, like OM. But their form in recent weeks has still been a bit surprising.
"At the start of the year, they were unbeatable. It depends on such little things and it shows that you also need to ask yourselves questions when things are going well."
After the trophyless years of the Claude Puel era, Saturday's game could enable Lyon to end a trophy drought stretching back to the Ligue 1 and French Cup double that they won under Puel's predecessor, Alain Perrin, in 2008.
Having seen his local club go four years without a trophy -- after seven straight league titles during the previous decade -- former Lyon player Garde says that victory over Marseille is of paramount importance.
"I have no certainties about the outcome of the other (French Cup) final, nor about our aim from the start of the season, which was to finish on the podium (in Ligue 1)," he said.
"We have an opportunity tomorrow (Saturday) that no-one wants to waste. It's also an opportunity to re-familiarise ourselves with victory and trophies, which have eluded the club for three years."