PSG Champions League reactions special
PSG were elated after qualifying for the Champions League quarters; coach Carlo Ancelotti hailed his players' reaction after going a goal down while president Nasser Al-Khelaïfi is thrilled to be among the top sides in Europe.
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
UEFA Champions League, round of 16, second leg
Valencia CF 1 - 1 Paris Saint-Germain (PSG through 3-2 on aggregate)
Carlo Ancelotti (Paris Saint-Germain coach): "Given our performance over the two games, I think that our qualification is deserved even though it was tougher tonight, with a pretty nervy first half. We weren't relaxed but, paradoxically, Valencia's goal really got us going. We were much better after that. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is very important for us but the others did their jobs well. Kevin Gameiro was good when he came on; his entry in to the game as the key to our equalising, so bravo Gameiro! [Blaise] Matuidi was fantastic. But that's no secret, he's fantastic all the time. At the moment, he's one of the best midfielders in Europe. I don't know whether we can make it to the final. Since the beginning of the competition, we've said we don't know how far we can go, and so far we've done well. Now we just need to wait for the draw [March 15] and then we'll see."
Ernesto Valverde (Valence coach): "It was a tight match. The aim was to score the first goal to get on track for qualification and to try to get PSG worried. At the end of the match, we were tired and not so clear-headed. I'm satisfied with how my team reacted. We had an unusual defensive line-up but we protected ourselves well and controlled PSG's counter-attacks. We weren't very incisive in the first half, but the second was better - with the exception of the very end of the match. PSG shut up shop after they scored. It was very tough to get past the result from the first leg, but still, Paris didn't have any chances before the second half."
Nasser Al-Khelaïfi (Paris Saint-Germain president): "It was an important match for us. With this 1-1 draw, we're into the quarter-finals and that was our objective. Before the match, I was confident. When Valencia scored, things got a bit difficult but Gameiro's coming on was a great change. We're among the eight top clubs in Europe, which was our goal. At this level, the matches are going to get very tough."
Blaise Matuidi (Paris Saint-Germain midfielder): "We're in the quarters, and we're savouring it. It wasn't an easy match, but the Champions League is never easy. It's a great moment for us. We're in the running in three competitions; there aren't many sides in Europe who are in the same situation. We'll fight to go as far as possible in each one. It's historic. Tonight we pulled off something amazing, we shouldn't be scared of saying so. And we don't feel like stopping here, we want to go much further. The quarter-finals are an open field. It's always tough to go this far in your first Champions League campaign in a while; reaching the quarters is already quite impressive. We showed tonight that you can't count us out."
Kevin Gameiro (Paris Saint-Germain striker): "The Champions League quarter-finals - this is a first for me. We got a bit scared tonight, because if they had scored another goal, we would have been eliminated. It wasn't a great match, but the most important thing was to qualify. We know we'll have to work very hard for the matches to come."
Clément Chantôme (Paris Saint-Germain midfielder): "We should have sewn up qualification in the first leg. It was incredibly tough against Valencia, but we stuck in there and we qualified, which is very important for the squad. Valencia were playing for the win, and we suffered a bit but we stuck it out. It's matches like this one that forge a team's mental strength. If we want to make it to the final, there are just a few huge teams to get past. We had quite a few physical niggles tonight, but we won through thanks to our mental strength. We can go a long way."
Christophe Jallet (Paris Saint-Germain defender): "It's a relief for al the lads, because aftera good first leg performance, we were expecting to qualify. We stepped up tonight, even though Valencia played well. We levelled the score even though they had more of the ball; we hung on and got back into the match. If the score had remained at 1-0, things would have been complicated right to the end. Our objective is to go as far as possible, so we'll see what the draw has in store for us. We'll have our chance. We won't put the cart before the horse, but it's impressive that we’ve reached the quarters. We're a side built to be competitive in all competitions, and I hope we can prove that right up to the end of the season. We're still in the running in three competitions; there aren't many teams who can boast that."