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Girard calls for focus

Lille coach Rene Girard is not looking too far ahead after his side edged closer to UEFA Champions League qualification on Sunday.

The 2011 Ligue 1 champions left the Stade Velodrome with a share of the spoils after playing out a goalless draw against rivals Marseille.

Despite the draw, Lille remain in the box set to qualify for Europe’s premier club competition.

Lille are third in the standings on 64 points, seven points clear of nearest rivals Saint-Etienne with four games remaining.

“It is a beautiful course and it would be a shame to lose the third place in terms of our season,” Girard said.

“Now, as mathematically, nothing is done, we must be very focused. We still have four games to deliver 12 points to.

“We will try to reap a maximum. I take a lot of fun with this group and I hope we will succeed because my boys have provided a lot of effort to get there. “

Girard added: “Our first concern is to look behind us in the standings.

“But beyond that, we mostly maintain a group who wants to follow this adventure in the championship.”

Lille could have claimed maximum points with a little more composure in front of goal after Pape Souare and Soualiho Meite spurned chances throughout the contest.

Souare almost gave the visitors the perfect start in the opening minute, but his header was well saved.

Lille had the opportunity to steal all three points inside the final 10 minutes but Meite could not steer his effort on target.

“We might be able to take our chances with a little more application and success on the offensive side,” Girard said.

“But hey, in the end I think this game was in line with what we are doing lately.

“And we had to be careful to the end because this Marseille team, there are individuals who can make a difference at any time.”

Mon 21 April, 2014
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