Juninho urges Lyon response to Rennes loss

October 16, 2008

PARIS, Oct 16 (Reuters) - Olympique Lyon can lose once but doing it twice is out of the question, said captain Juninho.

The seven-times champions worried their fans by slumping to a rare 3-0 defeat at Stade Rennes in their last Ligue 1 outing.

It was their first defeat in any competition this season and Juninho made it clear a victory was the only option when they host Lille on Saturday.

"We all failed against Rennes because we were not strong enough mentally," the Brazilian midfielder told his club's website.

"We did not manage to turn our attention to Ligue 1 after drawing at Bayern Munich (in the Champions League). It must not happen again. We must show that defeat was just an accident."

Lyon still top the Ligue 1 table, two points clear of second-placed Toulouse, visiting Girondins Bordeaux on Saturday (1700).

Lille, recovering from a slow start to the season, have gone five matches without defeat to move up to sixth, five points off the pace.

Midfielder and set piece expert Juninho knows Saturday's match will be Lyon's only home game this month since they will then visit Steaua Bucharest in the Champions League before Ligue 1 trips to Auxerre and Sochaux.

"That game at our Gerland stadium is ever so important," Juninho said. "We need three points before our fans and we must not concede any goal. We have to win to make sure we stay ahead of our rivals and to prepare for the tough matches to come."

Saturday's match will be a special occasion for Lyon coach Claude Puel, who joined the club after six years at Lille.

"This will be a bit like the game of the year for Lille," Puel told reporters. "A lot of players in that team know me, and I know how good they are."