Chelsea FC's two-goal striker Salomon Kalou thanked his team-mates for their support after he bounced back from an early miss to net twice in the 4-0 Group D win over Club Atlético de Madrid.
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Salomon Kalou was grateful for his team-mates' support as he recovered from a woeful miss to strike two goals for Chelsea FC and help them run out comfortable 4-0 winners over Group D rivals Club Atlético de Madrid.
Kalou prodded a glorious chance wide of the mark after Michael Ballack had set him up in front of goal and for a player trying to prove his worth in place of the suspended Didier Drogba it could have proved a difficult moment to recover from. However, just before half-time the Ivorian striker rammed home a low centre from Ashley Cole and seven minutes after the restart he rose impressively at the far post to head a second.
"It was very important for me because I have not been playing much and to score these goals is good for my confidence," Kalou said. "When you are a striker and you miss that kind of chance you are always going to be thinking about it, but the other players said not to worry because I was going to have another chance and that's what happened. After that miss I was really looking for another opportunity and after I scored the first goal I relaxed and had more confidence. It was good to get the second because the manager had said we should be scoring more from corners."
Captain John Terry said Kalou's double strike showed the hunger that exists in the squad. "Didier [Drogba] knows there is competition for places and that there are players behind him who want his place. We will lose three or four players in January because of the African Cup of Nations so it's important everyone keeps themselves sharp and does well when they get their chance."
The victory, which leaves the London team needing just one more win to seal another qualifying berth, also featured Frank Lampard's first Chelsea goal for two months, his 133rd in all, which means he has now surpassed the legendary Jimmy Greaves's total for the club. There was also another smooth display from Deco who has been rejuvenated following the arrival of new coach Carlo Ancelotti. "I feel really good at the moment and I'm playing as well as ever," he said. "Playing for the national team as well has helped me return to my best form, so I'm very happy.
"In the summer the manager said he wanted me to stay and that was a very important conversation for me," Deco added. "It is important I have the confidence of the manager. Qualifying early will help the coach because he can then rest some players for the important games in the Premier League. We're not qualified yet and we still need another point, maybe three. We will try to bring them back from the next game [in Madrid]."