OL-Nantes: The art of integration according to Lucas Paquetá
Having joined an already well-stocked Brazilian colony at OL, Lucas Paqueta has won his place in the Lyon team in less time than it takes to say as much, a bit like his compatriot Bruno Guimaraes a few months earlier. However, after a mixed experience at AC Milan, the Brazilian joined hoping to find his place in a midfield made up of high quality players. But the vagaries of COVID-19, suspensions and injuries allowed him to join the starting eleven during a match in Strasbourg and he was the key to a performance that suggested to OL that he had a great deal to do with it.
Able to harry his opposite numbers, but also to keep the ball thanks to an impressive technical palette, Lucas Paqueta, with his attitude on the pitch, gives the impression of already being a locker room captain. He said on his arrival: "I already feel at home", while Rudi Garcia stressed that "the fact that we have a lot of Brazilians will help him to integrate".
Since this match in Strasbourg, wearing number 12, the same as Juninho, he has taken part in all ten of Lyon's matches, including 8 as a starter which correspond to 8 wins and 2 draws -- the Brazilian has simply never known defeat since his arrival. We will notably remember his performance at the Parc des Princes where he was one of the great architects of OL’s victory.
I try to organize the team from midfield as much as possible and to be a finisher when we attack, although that is not the main objective. This is what OL expect of me, what Juninho asked of me. I try to bring a positive style of football to this team… The most important thing is to be on the pitch, no matter what position in midfield. I follow the instructions of the coach. I am used to playing in several positions, thanks in part to my time at Flamengo.
His joining Lyon has also corresponded to his return to the Brazil setup, something he hadn't experienced since November 2019. However, there is still a shadow in this already very bright tale: he has not yet managed to be directly involved in a goal. He thought he had scored with a subtle lob in his first match in Strasbourg, but he was denied the goal for a slight offside. There is no doubt that as long as he plays at the level he has for two months now, he will quickly find his way to the net. In the meantime, Lucas Paqueta can already be satisfied with his successful integration, while all Lyon fans hope he will follow in the footsteps of the greatest Brazilian players to have worn the OL jersey.