Les Dogues will have to suffer to earn a positive result in the Netherlands, but beating Ajax is not an impossible task, according to Lille OSC manager, Christophe Galtier.
Victor Osimhen is in the Lille squad that traveled to Holland to face last year’s Champions League semifinalist and his boss has impressed it on his players to play their own game without stress and pressure even if they face a difficult team.
The former St Etienne coach however conceded that Ajax are the favourites, being the Dutch champions.
“Insurmountable, I do not believe, even if we are not favourites. We have the chance to play in this competition, a very difficult competition,” coach Galtier told the press as monitored by Soccernet.ng
“From the moment there is a match that is to be played, there is a chance to make a performance.
“We are not stressed, but focused. My players were this morning (Monday) in training. We are very happy to start this competition, without stress and without pressure, but with determination.
It has been seven years since the French side made it to the group stage of Europe’s premier club competition, bowing out after winning just a game (away to BATE) and losing the other five.
Galtier believes not much as change about the Champions League since, as it remains the best in the world.
“I do not think there is a big difference between the Champions League of today and that of 7 years ago. Lille surely finds this competition, as the most beautiful for all clubs.
Ajax sold Matthijs de Ligt to Juventus and Frenkie de Jong to Barcelona, two of their key performers as they made it to the competition’s last four before being stopped in dramatic fashion by Tottenham Hotspur, a situation the Lille manager does not think has weakened Ajax.
“AFC Ajax is the defending champion of the Dutch championship. They have lost major players, but I do not think they are weakened, they are competitive,” Galtier added.
“It’s the DNA of Ajax to have technical qualities, collective play… They are a very modern football club and are ahead of everyone.”
Lille as well lost a key player in the summer as the the club’s best player last season joined Premier League side Arsenal for a reported fee of £72m. Les Dogues however appeared to have recruited well as Nigeria international Victor Osimhen was brought in from Sporting Charleroi.
The Super Eagles youngster has since banged in 5 goals in 3 starts to currently sit atop the Ligue 1 goalscorer chart. Galtier reveals that playing to his team’s strength will be crucial to getting a positive result from the match.
“We will build on our game and we will not change anything about how we evolve, we are a young team with technical quality.
“We will seek to play as we have for the past 14 to 15 months, with the desire to move forward. We will look to contain Ajax and then build on our strengths to hurt them when we have to do it.
“We will have to run and suffer to get a result. We know how to do that because that’s how we qualified.”