Sometimes frustrating Depay 'needs love' from Lyon
Lyon winger Memphis Depay "needs love" even if he can sometimes prove frustrating to watch for president Jean-Michel Aulas.
Depay replaced Houssem Aouar in the 72nd minute with Lyon clinging on to a 2-1 lead at home to Villarreal in the first leg of their Europa League last-32 tie on Thursday.
He irritated the home fans by mishitting a rabona cross after a string of sublime skills saw him bring the ball under control on the left and spin away from Mario Gaspar.
The Netherlands international made up for it two minutes later, though, when he slammed Lyon's third goal into the bottom-left corner to secure a more comfortable lead ahead of the return match at the Estadio de la Ceramica.
While Aulas confessed Depay's antics on the pitch can lead to exasperation, he knows the 24-year-old is a player that needs nurturing.
"I told him we like him a lot. He's a boy who needs love. He's able to change a match at any time, like he did against Paris," said the Lyon president, referencing Depay's phenomenal 94th-minute winner against Paris Saint-Germain in January.
Retour sur les trois buts lyonnais lors de la très belle victoire face à Villarreal ! pic.twitter.com/cievrA4Unt
— Olympique Lyonnais (@OL) February 16, 2018
"He made amazing technical moves, some helping the club and the result, and sometimes frustrating us.
"With his technique, he brings things that have rarely been seen in Lyon. With his personality, we can only love him, even if sometimes he frustrates us."
Head coach Bruno Genesio warned his side they cannot sit back in Spain and must look to cancel out the away goal secured by Villarreal.
"It's still 50-50 for qualification," said Genesio. We won the first match, but I also think it will be necessary to score there for us to qualify.
"We can score many goals at home and away. We must keep our philosophy."