Right-back Matthieu Chalmé has promised that LOSC Lille Métropole will let their football do the talking at Old Trafford on Wednesday as the French side aim to overturn a 1-0 deficit in their UEFA Champions League last-16 tie against Manchester United FC.
No revenge mission
The first leg in Lens has barely left the back pages since Ryan Giggs's cheeky late free-kick, but Chalmé is hoping the sporting contest can retake centre stage at Old Trafford. "We're not thinking about the game as a chance to get revenge and we've got nothing against United," he told uefa.com. "It was just sad to lose after playing really well, and now we have to score two goals over there. The whole club is focused on that and we haven't let our heads drop."
Having lost 2-1 at relegation-threatened OGC Nice in their previous Ligue 1 game, Lille got into gear for the United rematch with a 4-0 win at home against ES Troyes Aube Champagne at the weekend. United, meanwhile, tightened their grip on top spot in the Premiership with a dramatic 1-0 win at Liverpool FC, who had not lost in their previous 30 home league games. However, despite United's pedigree and irrepressible form, Chalmé feels there is little to choose between the two rivals.
"This tie isn't finished yet, as our first-leg performance proves," explained the 26-year-old. "We matched them in the tackle, in our commitment and going forward. We were patient at the start, then after the break we caused them trouble on the counter and got to the loose balls first." Les Dogues are hardly strangers to adversity at this level either, having needed to overcome AC Milan at the San Siro to proceed from Group H. And after pulling off a 2-0 success there, the club feel they can meet any challenge. "It'll be like against Milan, when we had our backs to the wall," continued Chalmé. "We needed a win and we got it, so we already know we can beat the big teams away from home."
Rallying to their cause in Manchester will be Kader Keita, who sat out the first game due to suspension. Scorer of the second goal on that famous night in Italy, the pacy Ivorian was missed at the Stade Félix-Bollaert and will lend the side an extra dimension with his explosive runs down the right. "We know we'll have chances over there," added his defensive colleague. "There's only one goal in this tie and everyone here believes we can do it. Now it's up to us to make it happen."
With United targeting a first appearance in the quarter-finals in four years, fulfilling that dream is going to take some doing. But should Chalmé and co. manage to dump the English giants out of the competition, Lille can expect to provoke plenty more column inches - this time for all the right reasons.
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