LYON - Girondins Bordeaux coach Laurent Blanc and his Olympique Lyon counterpart Claude Puel engaged in a round of mind games on Monday, with both tipping their opponents as favourites for the all-French showdown in the Champions League quarter-final.
Lyon, hoping to reach the semi-finals of European club football's premier event for the first time, will host the Ligue 1 champions in the first leg on Tuesday before travelling to Bordeaux next week.
"Laurent Blanc says that we're the favourites but you know he's thinking exactly the contrary," Puel told reporters. "It's a way for him to take the pressure off his team."
For years Lyon had been the standard bearer in French football as they won seven successive Ligue 1 titles. But last May they lost their crown to Bordeaux.
Recent domestic form favours Bordeaux, who have beaten Lyon in their last two league encounters, but Lyon have more experience in Europe and boosted their confidence by knocking out heavyweights Real Madrid in the previous round.
"It will be tight with the advantage for Bordeaux to be at home in the return leg, which counts," Puel said.
Bordeaux warmed up in poor fashion, losing 3-1 to Olympique Marseille in the French League Cup final on Saturday, with their focus probably already on the battle against Lyon.
"We know Lyon well, we face them in the league and see them play every weekend," Blanc told reporters. "Lyon probably have the same feeling. We know their strengths and weaknesses and they know ours. I don't think there will be many surprises, tactically speaking."comments