Francis le Ble, France

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Brest v Lille: Preview

Brest coach Landry Chauvin has endured a fortnight of seeing his team written off as prime relegation candidates but believes in the space of 90 minutes tomorrow they can disprove the theory.

A 4-0 derby defeat to Lorient last time out was a chastening result and remained the overriding topic of Chauvin's press conference ahead of this weekend's clash with Lille.

Chauvin interrupted at one stage to say: ``Lorient was 15 days ago. Now we have a match and we need unity, solidarity and determination.''

Brest began this weekend just one point outside the bottom three and Chauvin knows the expectation from outside Brittany is that his team will struggle to survive.

``I see, I read, I listen and I hear,'' he said. ``We believe in our strengths and we're going to go out to contradict all the people who see us going down.''

Lille still have hopes of reaching a European slot, even though they have been unable to produce their form of last season, when they took an impressive third place.

``We know about Lille,'' Chauvin said. ``They're the best team at keeping the ball in France. They've maybe been less successful this year. They're a good team but it's also an interesting challenge for us.''

The ball retention aspect has piqued Chauvin's interest, after he heard discussions suggesting the game could be similar to France's midweek clash with world and European champions Spain, masters of keeping the ball.

``This week, certain journalists have compared the match with the France-Spain game. We're flattered,'' Chauvin said.

On the fitness front, midfielder Geoffrey Dernis has been ruled out for Brest after suffering a knee injury in training yesterday that is set to keep him sidelined for up to six weeks. Dernis is a former Lille player.

Brest captain Ahmed Kantari is determined to gee up his troops and revealed they had talked over the performance against Lorient.

Kantari said: ``We've discussed it between us a little. It's true we expected a lot from the match against Lorient and we were all very disappointed.

``Now we have to treat that as a lesson learned and start afresh against Lille.

``We have to continue to work and be a team difficult to play against and to beat.''

Lille boss Rudi Garcia also saw his team suffer a disappointing result prior to the international break, losing 2-1 to struggling Evian.

Garcia wants to prove that was a blip and said: ``The players have worked very hard during the international break. They have shown desire and effort in training. We haven't spent time reflecting, we've just worked.

``We are capable of doing what we did at Ajaccio or at Valenciennes [Lille won 3-1 away from home against both recently]: imposing ourselves on the teams which are ranked behind us.

``We know what to expect, against a Brest team who are playing for survival.''

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