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Stoke City FC match winner Jon Walters hailed the club's noisy supporters after they roared Tony Pulis's side on to a "massive" victory in their opening UEFA Europa League Group E home game against Beşiktaş JK. His fellow scorer Peter Crouch said Stoke's 2-1 comeback success was fully deserved and opposition midfielder Manuel Fernandes admitted the Premier League outfit had made life "difficult" for his team, now overtaken by Stoke at the group summit.
Jon Walters, Stoke forward
It was our first major game in Europe at home for about 40 years [the 1974/75 UEFA Cup] and after we got a great point [at FC Dynamo Kyiv], we were looking to build on it so to go out there and get the three points was massive for us.
It is a squad game, a few players were rotated today, myself one of them. I managed to come on and get that winning goal. [With an earlier chance] I thought it had sneaked under him [goalkeeper Rüştü Reçber] and it just bounced up and on to the bar. I put the penalty away and it was nice to get the winner. I've played here as an opposition player and a home player and it is a great atmosphere, the fans make it very difficult for any team; they get right behind us and that cliche that they make the 12th man is true, they do.
Peter Crouch, Stoke forward
The atmosphere was fantastic tonight. They brought a lot of fans, and our fans were different class again – you just want to perform in front of them, and thankfully we did. It could have been easy for us to go under [after conceding first] but the team spirit and work rate are great at this club and we never know when we are beaten.
I do think it was deserved. They have a great deal of quality and some fantastic players but overall on the balance of the game they didn't have too much – they hit the bar but our keeper hasn't had too many saves and we put them under a great deal of pressure. We have put ourselves in a good position and we look forward to the rest of the group now.
Manuel Fernandes, Beşiktaş midfielder
I think we played better in the first half, we had more possession but in the second half they pressed us more and we were unable to get the ball as often as we should have – maybe a draw was the most appropriate result. In the first half we showed a lot of personality on the ball but we have to do it for 90 minutes.
It is difficult [against Stoke], they have their own way of playing. We have to respect that. Hopefully next time we play against them it will be better for us. We are in second place at the moment, the other teams drew, and we still have two games at home and have a good chance to get through.
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