Mavuba relishing Reds test
By Laurent Picard
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Bordeaux midfielder Rio Mavuba is relishing the prospect of facing Liverpool.
Bordeaux midfielder Rio Mavuba is relishing the prospect of facing Liverpool in the UEFA Champions League.
The France international will aim to get his feet wet in European action on Wednesday when Les Girondins host Dutch champions PSV Eindhoven at Stade Chaban-Delmas.
In an exclusive interview with skysports.com, the 22-year-old is keen to test his abilities against their opponents in Group C this autumn.
"We face PSV Eindhoven on Wednesday - that will be my first Champions League appearance" Mavuba told skysports.com.
"They are experienced, strong, solid, and don't forget what they did to Lyon. They are famous for their physical style, their duels.
"Honestly, I feel a little stressed, but I am also very excited.
"I don't know if our draw at Galatasaray has been a good result. With a little more audacity, we could have won the match.
"So we will see what the other sides will do there.
"Bordeaux hadn't played Champions League football since 2000, so our young players have to adapt.
"That is a huge chance for us to play against an English team. Playing at Anfield will be great, as the stadium is legendary.
"I remember playing at White Hart Lane with the France Under-21 squad, the atmosphere was incredible.
"The Premiership offers you a great atmosphere which has nothing in common with the other leagues. English fans are the bomb."
Mavuba is hoping to have the chance of facing the likes of Steven Gerrard, and praised the quality of Premiership football.
"I will compare myself to Steven Gerrard, one of the best players in the world," he added.
"I will see how long is the road to try to be as good as him. This challenge was all I expected. Watching him would be a shame, I will have to challenge him!
"People think I am an Italian league fan, but that is wrong.
"I used to be a Juventus fan as a child, but everything is so complicated with calcio these daysÇª
"I just love English football, which is not as physical as people may say. There are a lot of duels, but no aggressively.
"A few teams still play kick-and-rush football, but a lot play and try to create chances.
"To my mind, Premier League offers players the possibility to prove their talent.
"Just watch Paul Scholes and Claude Makelele. They are not tall or strong, they are classy. (Cesc) Fabregas is also a great Premiership player.
"The strength of this league is it offers a place to every kind of player. My favourite clubs are Arsenal and Manchester United."
Mavuba believes Bordeaux's slow start to the season is down to the change in tactics the Ligue 1 club have adopted since Johan Micoud arrived in the summer from Werder Bremen.
"Bordeaux concede more goals because our style is much more risky this season," Mavuba said.
"It was not possible to go on playing in defence all the time, we had to change.
"For instance, we lack efficiency with the final ball, but things will change.
"Stephane Dalmat and Wendel are good new players.
"Dalmat is looking for stability after having been transferred every year of his career. Bordeaux is what he is looking for - a calm and ambitious club.
"Wendel is the big surprise. Only coach Ricardo knew him, but he has adapted a lot and scored two important goals."
Mavuba has big aspirations to establish himself in Raymond Domenech's France squad, believing he can succeed Chelsea's Claude Makelele in the future.
"Claude Makelele's comeback hasn't been a surprise, as he never really left," Mavuba added. "He never promised he would stop (playing for France).
"I know him and Patrick Vieira can't be challenged (in France's midfield).
"Honestly, I learn a lot thanks to Claude. We talk a lot and I watch his moves. Of course, if he wasn't there, I would have more chances to play.
"I would like to be called every time with my team-mate Julien Faubert, so Bordeaux fans can be proud and remember the time when Zinedine Zidane, Christophe Dugarry and Bixente Lizarazu were playing for both Les Girondins and France."
Bordeaux, meanwhile, have been boosted ahead of Wednesday's game with PSV with the news that Faubert and Micoud have overcome injury scares.
Faubert has recovered from a knee problem, while Micoud has overcome a groin injury.