Lyon star says Man City link ‘flattering’ ahead of ‘job interview’

Date published: Saturday 15th August 2020 7:09

Houssem Aouar

Houssem Aouar admitted it was “flattering” to be linked with a move to Lyon’s Champions League quarter-final opponents Manchester City, but his full focus is on his current side.

The French midfielder, who is rated as one of the brightest prospects in Europe, has been linked with a number of clubs, including City, Arsenal and Juventus.

City will see the 22-year-old first-hand in Saturday’s quarter-final clash at Sporting Lisbon’s Jose Alvalade Stadium but Aouar claims he is not thinking about trying to impress City.

“I don’t know if it is a job interview,” Aouar said at a press conference. “It is flattering to be linked but this is a bit off-topic. I am fully focused on Lyon because these are really important matches.”

Aouar was involved when Lyon last came up against City in the group stages of last season’s competition.

The Ligue 1 side claimed a surprise win at the Etihad Stadium and then held City to a 2-2 draw at home.

Aouar said: “We need to remember the last games against them, but this will be a completely different game.

“Manchester City will prepare well to face us. We all feel good physically. The whole group is well prepared. We will have to have a great performance.”

Aouar later gave Lyon a scare by going down injured in a training game open to the media but he was able to rejoin the session.

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Lyon reached the last eight by pulling off a shock win over Italian champions Juventus in the previous round.

That victory has given them belief they can upset the form book again as they face City.

“A victory against Juventus gives us greater confidence and, of course, we do have greater desire now,” said coach Rudi Garcia, who also joked Aouar could only leave if Lyon win the Champions League.

“Manchester City are naturally the favourites for this tie but the start of these quarter-finals have shown that the odds can be overturned.”

Garcia was referring primarily to the success of RB Leipzig in reaching the last four but Paris St Germain are also through to the semi-finals for only the second time in their history.

Asked if the new one-leg format could suit Lyon, Garcia said: “It would be historic to have two French sides in last four and we want to follow PSG, but it doesn’t change our approach if it is over one or two legs.

“It is harder to pull off shock over two legs but we managed it against Juventus. I hope we might have an even greater chance of going through over one leg.”

Garcia added he expects former City defender Jason Denayer and Ivory Coast international Maxwel Cornet – who scored three times in the two games against the English side last season – to overcome knocks.

 

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