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Kalou targets strong start for Lille

Champions League winner Salomon Kalou has urged his Lille team-mates to make a strong start to their European campaign at home to BATE Borisov.

Kalou, who won the trophy with Chelsea last season, said getting three points from Wednesday night's game was crucial but stressed that Lille's status as favourites did not mean anything.

Lille failed to qualify for the knockout stages of the competition last season, and Kalou said an opening win would help avert the threat of a repeat disappointment.

He said: "We're going to do everything to get the three points. It's important to start well. Being favourites doesn't mean anything - in the Champions League, no game is easy.

"But I'm confident - we have high-quality players and a team that is capable of qualifying. We trained well this week, and now we have to play a good first match."

Ivory Coast international Kalou has recovered from a thigh injury and is expected to start in Rudi Garcia's side. He said: "I'm better. I worked with the medical staff and I have recovered well.

"I am enjoying myself at Lille - we play good football and it is a real pleasure to be a part of this team. We need to work hard - that's the most important thing - and believe in ourselves. That's the only way to win such a tournament."


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