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Faith pays off as Frei's Basel sink United

Published: Thursday 8 December 2011, 8.34CET
Alexander Frei said belief helped FC Basel 1893 "move mountains" in the 2-1 win which denied Manchester United FC second place in Group C – and spelled "disaster" for Patrice Evra.
by Steven Rogers
from St. Jakob-Park
Faith pays off as Frei's Basel sink United
Marco Streller and Fabian Frei congratulate Alexander Frei (centre) after his goal against United ©Getty Images
Published: Thursday 8 December 2011, 8.34CET

Faith pays off as Frei's Basel sink United

Alexander Frei said belief helped FC Basel 1893 "move mountains" in the 2-1 win which denied Manchester United FC second place in Group C – and spelled "disaster" for Patrice Evra.

Goalscorer Alexander Frei said belief helped FC Basel 1893 "move mountains" after a famous 2-1 home victory against Manchester United FC eliminated the Red Devils and sent the Swiss side through to the UEFA Champions League round of 16. Patrice Evra, meanwhile, gave a stark assessment of United's performances over the course of the group stage.

Alexander Frei, Basel forward
It will take a few days for it all to sink in. All I know is that we really wanted this dream to come true. The key to the victory was the belief that we can beat one of the best teams in Europe. We have now scored five times in two games against Manchester United, and that shows our quality.

In any group stage there is a key moment, and for us this moment was at Old Trafford [where Basel drew 3-3]. That's when we realised what we could achieve. This shows that our belief and confidence can move mountains, not just for one game but for the whole group stage.

This is not just a victory for Basel but also for Swiss football in general. I don't care who are next opponents are; everything is a bonus now.

Xherdan Shaqiri, Basel midfielder
We had the chance to reach the next round and we really wanted to seize it. We showed that tonight. In the end, we deserved this victory.

Home advantage was an important factor; our fans made us even more motivated – they inspired us to fight more, run more.

We defended very well by working as a team, and we didn't give the ball away cheaply – our passing was good. We knew as a team that we could take on Manchester United. For all of Swiss football, this victory is tremendous.

This victory is emblematic of the progress we have been making. In the past two years we have been steadily improving and gaining a good reputation in Europe. Opponents now respect us and no-one likes to play us at our ground.

Markus Steinhöfer, Basel defender
We are more than happy after that victory – it has turned into a party in our dressing room. I think we deserved this win and we really wanted to reach the next round. We wanted to take this golden opportunity.

It was a brilliant performance, although at the end it was close. I nearly scored an own goal while trying to get the ball out of our area. Luckily it didn't go in, but it was luck that we had earned.

We played very well at Old Trafford and we were unlucky. We definitely deserved something from that game and showed how good we are. Tonight, we were convinced we could do it and our fans were convinced that we were good enough. Now we all have the reward for this belief.

Patrice Evra, Manchester United defender
We created a lot of chances. They had fewer chances but they deserved to win. But it's not about tonight, it's about the whole competition: We haven't played well throughout the group stage and we threw away our qualification in the end.

Manchester United going out at the group stage is just a disaster. For six years, we have never been out of the competition at the first round; it's a new experience for many of our players. But the gaffer knows he has the players to bounce back. If you play for Man United, you have to be strong.

Today is a really sad day for everyone at Manchester United: The fans, the staff, the players. We need to focus on the Premier League now. We have to make sure we don't throw our season away because the fans deserve better.

The key to the victory was the belief that we can beat one of the best teams in Europe. We have now scored five times in two games against Manchester United, and that shows our quality
Alexander Frei
Manchester United going out at the group stage is just a disaster. For six years, we have never been out of the competition at the first round; it's a new experience for many of our players
Patrice Evra
Last updated: 08/12/11 13.23CET

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