'We won the tactical battle' says Lyon coach Garcia after beating Man City

Lyon manager Rudi Garcia said winning the tactical battle with Pep Guardiola's Man City was the key to his team's Champions League quarterfinal win.

Rudi Garcia

Sevilla coach Rudi Garcia is all smiles after his side stormed to a 3-1 win over Manchester City in the Champions League.   -  Getty Images

Lyon manager Rudi Garcia said winning the tactical battle with Pep Guardiola's side had been the key to his team's surprise 3-1 win in the Champions League quarterfinal on Saturday.

The victory sends Lyon, which finished seventh in the French league, into a clash with German champion and tournament favourite Bayern Munich in Lisbon on Thursday.

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“With Pep, you can expect anything. We knew that Pep could concoct something to cause us problems. But in the end I think we won the tactical battle in the sense that we've mastered our tactical system, even if I changed it (during the match),” said Garcia.

Lyon as able to exploit the space left in midfield by Guardiola's decision to play an extra defender and when City reverted to is normal, attacking formation, the French side punished it on the break.

“I'm experiencing a lot of happiness right now ... when I see the joy in the dressing room, I tell myself that I'm in the right,” he said.

“You can't stop when you're on such a good path. It's not the night to talk about Bayern, but we're only in the semifinals, we've still got a few steps to go,” he added.


Garcia left striker Moussa Dembele on the bench but the former Celtic forward responded with two goals after coming on in the second half.

“It was a disappointment for Moussa not to start, but I told him, he was going to be very important when entering. Salvation came from the bench,” he said.

Dembele's goals prompted wild scenes on the streets of Lyon on Saturday as fans gathered in the city centre, dancing and lighting flares to celebrate the side's victory over pre-match favourite City.

“It was a complicated game against a very great team. For a player, there is always a little bit of sadness to start on the bench, but I made a difference,” Dembele told French television.

“We made the promise to give everything. The spirit of the group has changed, we know that we are a great team,” he added.

Lyon's surprise victories over Juventus and City came after the French season was halted in March and, unlike most European leagues, did not resume.

Garcia said the club had made the most of that situation. “We adapted to the suspension of Ligue 1, we had eight weeks of pre-season, it's massive. Our fitness coach really came up with the perfect solution for our players,” he explained, while also conceding that his players tired towards the end.

“We're developing a taste for things, but our confidence levels are growing in this squad, our results have shown that, but we'll still be the outsiders, the underdogs against Bayern Munich,” Garcia said.

“We'll need to pull off a shock result, just as we did against Juventus and tonight against Manchester City,” he added.

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