FC Viktoria Plzeň coach Pavel Vrba and captain Pavel Horváth struck a cautious note after their sensational 3-1 UEFA Champions League play-off first-leg victory at FC København.
The Czech champions had already won both legs of their previous two qualifying ties on their competition debut but this success at a side that reached the last 16 in 2010/11 was of a different order, putting Plzeň in sight of the group stage ahead of next Wednesday's return at Prague's Eden Stadium. Václav Pilař made it 2-0 not long after Sölvi Ottesen's own goal early in the second half and although the FCK player pulled one back, visiting substitute Martin Fillo notched a superb third.
Plzeň can now emulate the feat of AC Sparta Praha and SK Slavia Praha in contesting the group stage, in only their third European campaign, although boss Vrba warned: "We were in a similar position in the previous round after victory at [Rosenborg BK], but the home game was open until the end. FCK will not give up."
Horváth, who made two of the goals in a starring performance, added: "We are only at half-time and nothing is definite. But we have a big chance and it will be a pity to waste it. We have had a feeling of euphoria from the start of this campaign and I hope it will continue. The first goal was decisive as they had to open up and we had more room after that."
Fillo, the unexpected hero just three minutes after his introduction, said: "It's fantastic, especially considering that I have hardly played this season." Vrba observed: "Scoring goals like that, he has pressured me into thinking more about the starting lineup!"
The coach, who will have key forward Marek Bakoš back from suspension for the second leg, had particular praise for the second-half display, following a quiet first period in which his team had been largely on the defensive. "We sat back too much and lost too many challenges before the interval," he said. "We were more courageous in the second half."
FCK captain Mathias Jørgensen did not hide his dismay. "It was incredibly disappointing," he said. "We had a good first half, and then they scored an unfortunate goal. It was the way we responded which was not good enough. We started to make wrong decisions."
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