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Pride and regret for Olympiacos trio

Published: Wednesday 7 December 2011, 8.35CET
Giannis Maniatis, Rafik Djebbour and Olof Mellberg shared their thoughts on Olympiacos FC's last-gasp elimination from the UEFA Champions League despite a rousing home win.
by Graham Wood
from Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium
Published: Wednesday 7 December 2011, 8.35CET

Pride and regret for Olympiacos trio

Giannis Maniatis, Rafik Djebbour and Olof Mellberg shared their thoughts on Olympiacos FC's last-gasp elimination from the UEFA Champions League despite a rousing home win.

Giannis Maniatis reflected on a bittersweet night after Olympiacos FC picked up a 3-1 victory against Arsenal FC only to be eliminated from the UEFA Champions League at the death after Olympique de Marseille fought back at Borussia Dortmund. Voted the Player Rater winner by UEFA.com users, the utility man is looking for more of the same in the UEFA Europa League, while Arsenal advance as Group F winners.

I think we were worthy of the victory but results didn't go our way elsewhere and we have to look forward to the Europa League
Giannis Maniatis
The truth is that we probably lost the chance to qualify because of that first defeat to Marseille; it was our worst performance
Olof Mellberg
The most important thing is that we have finished top of the group and can look forward to the knockout stage
Yossi Benayoun

Giannis Maniatis, Olympiacos defender
It's definitely the most bittersweet award I have received. We played very well today and managed to beat a big club like Arsenal. I think we were worthy of the victory but results didn't go our way elsewhere and we have to look forward to the Europa League. Certainly we all feel a little bitterness and frustration to be exiting the Champions League but we can't dwell on it. The Europa League is also a top European competition and we are looking forward to it.

I have played in midfield in the past at my previous club and it's something I enjoy. At this club, I am just happy to play where the coach tells me and if I can help the team at a time of need like now when we have a lot of players out injured and we manage to win games, then that is the most important thing for me.

Rafik Djebbour, Olympiacos forward
We gave everything to get the three points, everybody did their jobs and it was great that we got the win we needed to keep our hopes alive in the competition, but this is football and when you depend on other results they don't always go your way. We knew that at the start. When you lose points at home like we did against Marseille [on matchday one] you will pay for it later, and that is the difficulty of the Champions League.

It's difficult to start thinking about life out of the Champions League this season as we thought that we could get the win and make the last 16 but with Marseille it was complicated. We knew they would also be aiming to win and they managed to do their job. We have to keep our heads held high and look to continue as long as we can in the Europa League.

Olof Mellberg, Olympiacos defender
We are very disappointed because we managed to go out and force our game plan on Arsenal and play the way we wanted. It will take a few days to get over the fact that we are out of the UEFA Champions League. We have some difficult games coming up in the Greek Super League so that will help our preparations for the Europa League.

The truth is that we probably lost the chance to qualify because of that first defeat to Marseille; it was our worst performance. We could also have taken points away to Borussia Dortmund and Arsenal, but we were unlucky in both matches. We expected more than finishing third but we can't dwell on it.

Yossi Benayoun, Arsenal midfielder
Olympiacos got themselves in front with a two-goal margin which was deserved as they started very well and had a good first half. But in the second half we raised our game a notch and pushed hard to get back into the game and when we scored to make it 2-1 it could have gone either way.

The most important thing is that we have finished top of the group and can look forward to the knockout stage. It's great to score in the Champions League, but I need to show the coach more so that he can put his faith in me and I can play more games. I have to show patience and work hard and I'm confident this will happen.

Last updated: 26/09/14 2.09CET

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