Lyonnais vs Monaco preview - Carvalho focus on domestic matters

Posted Friday, September 12, 2014 by PA

Ricardo Carvalho insists Monaco are fully focused on domestic improvement and will not be distracted by their impending return to the Champions League.

The Portuguese defender has admitted last season's Ligue 1 runners-up have made a bad start to the new campaign, with just four points from their opening four matches.

With the principality set to play in the Champions League proper following a decade-long absence next week, Carvalho is adamant the 2004 runners-up do not already have one eye on their first fixture against German side Bayer Leverkusen and are concentrating on Friday night's clash against Lyon.

"It's true, the Champions League is approaching but we're fully focused on Friday's match against Lyon," he told the club's official website.

There were signs that Monaco had turned the corner before the international break, following up victory over Nantes with a draw at home to unbeaten Lille.

Carvalho is optimistic they can continue the upward trend at Lyon, despite a summer of upheaval that saw star players James Rodriguez and Radamel Falcao depart the Stade Louis II over the summer.

"We've started the season poorly. We've conceded a lot of goals, especially in the second game against Bordeaux (where Monaco were beaten 4-1)," Carvalho told the club's official website.

"But there's a long way to go in the league. We'll grow in confidence and improve. This team has potential."

Lyon have also made a forgettable start to their season, with manager Hubert Fournier revealing injuries took their toll at Stade de Gerland.

Les Gones suffered three straight league defeats before the international break, and while Fournier believes his side will be more competitive he is not expecting a dramatic upturn in fortunes.

When asked whether Lyon's season begins on Friday, he replied: "Unfortunately, no. But we will see an OL side more in keeping with what we expect to see from this club. In August we were just stretching everything to make the ends meet.

"During this international break, there were a few discussions, but most of all, there was blood, sweat and tears out on the pitch as the side worked hard to get back into top shape, despite the absence of the club's internationals.

"It's also given us the chance to welcome back from injury a few players, such as Samuel (Umtiti), Momo (Yattara), Nabil (Fekir) and Yoann (Gourcuff)."

Lyon were given a boost on Thursday when forward Alexandre Lacazette signed a new two-year deal.

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