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Olympiacos out but not down after last-gasp exit

Published: Tuesday 6 December 2011, 23.50CET
Ernesto Valverde urged his Olympiacos FC players to "put their disappointment behind them" and look forward to the UEFA Europa League after tasting victory and elimination on Tuesday.

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Published: Tuesday 6 December 2011, 23.50CET

Olympiacos out but not down after last-gasp exit

Ernesto Valverde urged his Olympiacos FC players to "put their disappointment behind them" and look forward to the UEFA Europa League after tasting victory and elimination on Tuesday.

Ernesto Valverde, Olympiacos coach
We did what we had to do, gave it our best and won. Arsenal didn't give us anything for free and put up a fight. We couldn't control what was happening in the match in Dortmund. The fact that Marseille turned around the result in the last stretch of the game only added to our disappointment.

I know that my players are sad tonight, but I told them that I'm really proud of them and their effort against Arsenal
Ernesto Valverde
We had the early chances in the game but didn't score and they gave it everything.
Arsène Wenger

I believe that our loss to Marseille on matchday one, when we hadn't played any competitive games and had no competitive rhythm, perhaps told on the final outcome of the group. Had we gained a point there, it would be a totally different story today.

In general we're happy with our performances in the group stage, in almost all of our games. It's a pity that we didn't qualify for the UEFA Champions League knockout stage, but we're through to another competition, the UEFA Europa League, and we will do our best there.

I know that my players are sad tonight, but I told them that I'm really proud of them and their effort against Arsenal and urged them to put their disappointment behind them.

Arsène Wenger, Arsenal manager
They played a very physical game in the first half which was very difficult for us and we didn't have the right tactical approach. We played too many short balls when it was a high contact game. We were unfortunate to lose [goalkeeper Łukasz] Fabiański but we came back and then lost it. Overall they deserved to win.

[The team I put out] haven't played a lot together and are inexperienced in the Champions League and were maybe not prepared for the pace of the game. I felt we didn't help our goalkeepers – we didn't give them clean passes and exposed them with a lack of quality in our passing. They were brave and did well, but it's not the way you like to concede a goal [the second].

Unfortunately, if you're not 100% in Europe it's very difficult to win. They were up for it. We had the early chances in the game but didn't score and they gave it everything. Let's wait for the draw. I believe that it's better to finish first. Who will we get? We will not speculate.

Last updated: 27/11/12 18.44CET

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