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Football | France

Lyon count on Lisandro in title race



Lisandro Lopez, back from a calf injury, will be one of the key players in Olympique Lyon's title challenge after his failed move to Juventus, coach Remi Garde said on Friday.

The Argentine striker will be available for second-placed Olympique Lyon, who trail leaders Paris St Germain by three points before travelling to Lille on Sunday, for the first time since a 0-0 draw against AC Ajaccio three weeks ago.

Lisandro also had a bruised ego after he was dubbed too expensive by Juventus during last month's transfer window.

"Lisandro has possibly been affected by the transfer window. There were situations that were not easy to deal with for some players and it was the case for Licha," Garde told a news conference.

"I can imagine that this has affected him because he is a sensitive lad."

Garde, however, hopes Lisandro, whose season has been hampered by injuries, will focus on the job after he was included in the squad for the Lille game.

"Now we are all together for four months. I need Lisandro, that's clear," the former Arsenal defender said.

"I always need players who can make the difference. I need this kind of experienced player. He can turn a game around so the group needs him."

Lisandro has scored only six times from 16 Ligue 1 games this season but he has a good track record of netting important goals.

Since he joined from Porto in 2009, Lisandro has scored 54 goals from 104 league matches.

"Lisandro will help us because he has a huge potential. He has had some physical problems but when he is fit, he can lift us very high," Lyon midfielder Maxime Gonalons told a news conference.

"The transfer window has not been easy to deal with. He is a player who needs confidence. I think that all the rumours have affected him.

"We need him because he can make the difference in big games."

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