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Halilhodzic: 'Toughest match of my life'

Publish on 31/01/2019 at 00h00 - S. WILLIS

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Amid tributes to the missing Emiliano Sala, FC Nantes coach Vahid Halilhodzic was wearing the effects of an emotional week after his side battled to a 1-1 draw with ASSE in their rescheduled Ligue 1 Conforama Week 22 clash.

FC Nantes 1 - 1 AS Saint-Etienne 

Vahid Halilhodzic (FC Nantes coach): "This was the toughest match of my life in terms of preparing for it and making it through. I want to congratulate my players for their heroic performance - they rose to the occasion. Sadly we didn't win even tough we deserved to, I think. But I told the lads  was very proud of them. I also want to thank the supporters, who spurred us on all night long. There was a lot of dignity. We're going through a tough moment and I'm very tired tonight. I mustn't talk too much or I'll start crying again. I've been hit hard by this whole story and it will stay with me forever. I had a really special relationship with Emiliano - we talked a lot over the last three months."

Valentin Rongier (FC Nantes captain): "It was a very emotional night. Not necessarily positive emotions, but we tried to give our all and I think that, in that respect, we succeeded, even though we would have liked to win it. Sadly we didn't manage that but for the fans, the team, the players and even the Saint-Etienne lads, who played the game well, I think it was a successful night. It was very tough, especially at the beginning, when we took the field, and in the ninth minute as well [the match was stopped for a minute in honour of Sala, who wore the number nine for Nantes]. The fans were fantastic, magnificent - worthy of Emiliano. They didn't let up all night, just like him. We thank them. There was an excellent communion and they gave their all."