Peter Bosz believes his Lyon side struggled to cope with a “special” Ibrox atmosphere before settling down in their 2-0 Europa League victory over Rangers last night, speaking to L’Equipe.
It’s easy to forget, given the way one of Ligue 1’s finest teams cruised to three points on the banks of the Clyde, that Rangers looked the better of the sides during the opening 20 minutes or more.
A Joe Aribo shot was parried by Lyon’s criminally underrated goalkeeper Anthony Lopes, a couple of sharp runs from Ryan Kent, the odd probing Borna Barisic cross.
But once Lyon took the lead – a wondrous long-range hit from Karl Toko Ekambi against the run of play – the visitors calmed their early jitters and started to perform as you’d expect from a team boasting two Brazilian playmakers, a Belgium international centre-half, a midfielder Pep Guardiola labelled “incredible” and a striker who once moved to the Premier League for £29 million.
Could Rangers have done more against Lyon?
“The start of the match wasn’t good. We lost a lot of balls, we weren’t calm,” says former Ajax and Dortmund coach Bosz, who is starting to silence the critics after a fraught start to life with Les Gones.
“Maybe that was normal with the very special atmosphere but, after the first goal, I think we played well.”
A horror own-goal by James Tavernier, following a fabulous reverse pass by the sublime Lucas Paqueta, proved the clincher, although things could have been different had Lopes not revealed his wrists of steel with a brilliant save to keep out a Ryan Kent pile-driver.
“We didn’t manage to score before half-time, but we must also say Anthony saved us with a great save,” Bosz adds.
“In the second half we played well, we were calm, and we scored a second goal. It’s true things are getting better and better but, to play better than that, you have to play like that for 90 minutes. But in the second half we played well.”