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Memphis Depay

Amazing but frustrating Memphis needs love - Lyon president

20:12 GMT+3 16/02/2018
Memphis Depay Lyon
In the space of two minutes, the winger displayed his worst and best attributes, but club chief Jean-Michel Aulas says he just needs love.

Memphis Depay "needs love" even if he can sometimes prove frustrating for Lyon, president Jean-Michel Aulas says.

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.

"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 also expressed his admiration for the former PSV and Manchester United attacker, and hopes to see more of the same from him.

"He scores pretty good goals because he has a lot of talent, he has a great shot and the ability to score extraordinary goals," he said.

"He's a very endearing guy. He's someone you can talk to and he recognises his mistakes. You have to judge what he's doing in a match, but his character is no worse than any other player's. On the contrary, he is intelligent, knows football, is able to analyse himself and be self-critical. That's what interests me, not his image outside of football.

"Memphis is more than a supersub and he's going to start matches, but he has to be able to do in 90 minutes what he did in 20 minutes against Villarreal.

"It's not difficult to manage Memphis, you just have to explain things to him."

Turning his attention to the return leg of the Europa League clash, the trainer went on to warn the rest of 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."