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Nov, 2, 2012

Garcia: Kalou needs time

Lille coach Rudi Garcia has called for Salomon Kalou to be given time to settle as the club struggles to cope with the losses of Eden Hazard and Gervinho.

Lille brought in former Chelsea winger Kalou on a free transfer as Hazard headed to Stamford Bridge, but the Ivory Coast international has so far struggled to fill the void, with the 2011 Ligue 1 champions currently sitting tenth in the table.

Garcia insists the club must show patience with Kalou, along with fellow new arrivals Marvin Martin and Dimitri Payet, as they look to rebuild the squad.

"It is not only Kalou but Martin and Payet too," Garcia told the French daily Le Dauphiné Libéré. "To compare them to Eden and Gervinho [who joined Arsenal after the 2011 title success], we need to look at the moment they joined the team, not the moment they left.

"With regard to Salomon, he had been the most dangerous player since the season started, but then he injured his thigh. When he came back against Bordeaux [in a 1-1 draw on October 19], he was in good shape, but it was only natural that suffered against Bayern Munich [four days later]. Against Valenciennes [a 2-1 win] last weekend, he showed his abilities and was involved in both goals. We need to give time to the players who join us."

Meanwhile, Lille have announced that left-back Lucas Digne, who has been linked with a number of Europe's leading clubs, will be out for four to six weeks after undergoing a meniscus operation on his left knee this week.

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