x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Patience is the key for Puel

Lyon coach Claude Puel will wait until the end of the month before making any early judgements on his class of 2009-10.

Lyon coach Claude Puel will wait until the end of the month before making any early judgements on his class of 2009/10. Les Gones play their first home game of the new season against Valenciennes at the Stade Gerland today. They started the campaign by drawing 2-2 at Le Mans, with new recruit Lisandro Lopez scoring a late equaliser from a free-kick.

Striker Lopez was one of four high-profile signings made by Lyon this summer and after splashing out ?70million (Dh367m) in the transfer market, the pressure is on Puel to deliver the goods. "There isn't an assessment to make after one match," he said. "We know the importance of August. We will know a little bit more about ourselves at the end of the month. But I know that this squad has the quality, and that it is tight, balanced and talented."

Valenciennes got off to a poor start by losing 3-1 at home to Nancy and having seen the highly regarded Antoine Kombouare quit as their coach in the summer to join Paris St Germain, they could be in for a difficult season. Bojan Krkic says he feels no extra pressure about the prospect of leading Barcelona's attack in this tomorrow's Spanish Supercopa first leg in the absence of a number of senior stars.

Although coach Pep Guardiola has yet to reveal his plans for the clash against Athletic Bilbao at San Mames, the 18-year-old forward looks set to start due to injury concerns surrounding Thierry Henry, Lionel Messi and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Bojan was largely used as a substitute during Barca's treble-winning success last season, but the teenager is not concerned about being asked to step into the breach for the clash against Athletic.

"There's no added pressure to be the starting striker at Barca. I've spent my whole life playing at this club," said Bojan, who scored one of the goals as Barca beat Athletic 4-1 to win last season's Copa del Rey final. "Sunday's game is like any other where we'll be going for the win. "Guardiola has not said anything to me, but if there are so many doubts then it is possible that I could be in the starting 11. But I hope that everyone's fit and we an enjoy playing together."

Franck Ribery is confident that he is fully fit and ready to make his first Bundesliga appearance of the season for Bayern Munich in today's Allianz Arena match with Werder Bremen. The France midfielder was given 25 minutes of action for his national team in midweek despite not having kicked a ball for his club this campaign due to a knee injury. Now he is looking forward to getting back on the field again for Bayern.

"It did me good to be able to play for France again," he said of Wednesday's 1-0 win over the Faroe Islands. "Even though I was not 100 per cent, it gives me confidence for the future and reassures me because I have not been able to play any games for Bayern. "Now I will dedicate myself totally to my club. I will be fit." Bayern coach Louis van Gaal does not intend to use Ribery for more than 20 minutes, and seems set to make just one other change to the side who started the season with a 1-1 draw against Hoffenheim.

* With agencies Watch Lyon v Valenciennes live at 9pm on ART Sport 4 and Ajazeera Sport 1