Lyon ‘most talented’ opponents yet for Rangers, says Beale

The Rangers coach is eagerly anticipating Thursday's Europa League clash.

Lyon ‘most talented’ opponents yet for Rangers, says Beale SNS Group

Rangers coach Michael Beale believes Lyon could be the most formidable European opponent yet for Steven Gerrard’s team.

The Ibrox side host the French outfit this Thursday in their opening Europa League group game.

Lyon finished fourth in Ligue 1 last term – after losing 2-0 to Rangers in pre-season – and Beale reckons they are possibly the best side to face the Scottish champions since manager Gerrard brought him to Glasgow three years ago.

Writing in his personal coaching blog, Beale said: “Having played against Lyon last pre-season, I’m really looking forward to our players competing against Houssem Aouar, Lucas Pacqueta and Bruno Guimaraes with Lyon this season.

“They are arguably the most talented squad we have faced in Europe so far and have a squad full of top young players like those mentioned above who have the potential to arrive in the Premier League in the future.

“One of their key midfielders is Thiago Mendes who I worked with at Sao Paulo FC. He is an extremely talented player who has done very well since coming to Europe and it will be good to see him again.

“Houssem Aouar is a player that I love to watch and I believe he is a fantastic talent. At 22, he has a huge future and for young players, he is a great example of close control, the ability to twist and turn away from pressure and to change the speed of the game when needed.”

Rangers are in a group alongside Lyon, Brondby and Sparta Prague, and – after enjoying his previous three tilts at the Europa League – Beale is hoping there are more memorable nights at Ibrox in the coming months.

He said: “The roar against Feyenoord as (Sheyi) Ojo crashed in the winning goal, or the noise against Legia Warsaw, when (Alfredo) Morelos scored the last minute winner were moments that you will never forget. We have had some memorable nights at Ibrox and the fans have always played their part in making the occasions so special.

“The (Joe) Aribo mazy run and (Ianis) Hagi free kick to complete a fantastic turnaround against Braga will be a game that lives long in the memory.

“Our opponents are equally lucky to experience the chance to play at Ibrox on a European night – it’s something that all our opponents mention when visiting Glasgow. Let’s hope for many more nights like those in the future.”

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