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August 1, 2017


Sitting alongside Max Le Marchand, Lucien Favre faced the media the day before the crunch meeting with Ajax in Amsterdam. The coach had an aire of determination ahead of the Champions League third qualifying round second leg.

A big game

"It's an important match. There will be others, but this is different, it's winner-takes-all. After a 1-1, of course anything is still possible. We played a very good first leg, especially in the first half in which we gave them nothing and created several chances for ourselves, even if they did too. It's up to us to reproduce our first-leg display. We know that it'll be all the more difficult here where they were unbeaten in European competition last season."

Up front

"Mario is injured unfortunately, that's life. We mustn't sulk about that, and look forward. It's unfortunate for him in particular. Alassane hasn't played since 12 February at Rennes. But he's been back in training for quite a while, he was with the team after a week of the pre-season. Logically, he isn't going to be ready to play 95 minutes, but he can play a good part of the match."

The opponent

"Ajax, it's a great story…I know it very well as I followed Johan Cruyff closely, both as a player and as a coach. They are perhaps starting out on a new great era, they're on the right track and do excellent work with youngsters. And it's clear that when they see all the greats here, it's a great challenge for them. The atmosphere? We had a great atmosphere in Nice too, there's no problem whether there are 35,000 or 48,000 people. But apparently it's quite something…"

The game

"We'll have to attack well, defend well and be decisive at certain moments to destabilise the Ajax defence. We know we have to score. We can do 0-1, 1-1, go to extra-time…Everything is possible. But it's not going to change everything. We'll have to be ready for 95 minutes."