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Athletic savour night to remember

Published: Friday 16 March 2012, 0.37CET
Óscar de Marcos said he would never forget the night when Athletic Club knocked out an "incredible team" in Manchester United FC to reach the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals.
by Paul Bryan
from San Mamés

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Published: Friday 16 March 2012, 0.37CET

Athletic savour night to remember

Óscar de Marcos said he would never forget the night when Athletic Club knocked out an "incredible team" in Manchester United FC to reach the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals.

Athletic Club sparked delirious celebrations among their fans in Bilbao by following up their first-leg victory against Manchester United FC with a 2-1 triumph in northern Spain. Speaking to UEFA.com after the encounter at a packed San Mamés, midfielder Óscar de Marcos said he would never forget the extra special night on which his side reached the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals at the expense of an "incredible team". United's Spanish goalkeeper David de Gea, meanwhile, wished the Leones the best of luck in a tournament he believes they can go on and win.

Óscar de Marcos, Athletic midfielder
It was a great game in which all our supporters were involved. It's certainly one to remember. We had a lot of chances and we continued to play the way we have become accustomed to. Perhaps in the last 20 minutes of the first half we weren't at our best but after the break we went after them and were rewarded with a second goal that pretty much sealed the tie.

Manchester United are an incredible team with some great players. For me it was a source of great pride to play against them. We played two fantastic legs and we were switched on from the start of both games, as were our fans. We really enjoyed ourselves, each and every one of us playing and combining well on the field – that was the key. I hope in future I get to compete in another tie like that. I suppose it's each to their own in terms of who we would like to face in the next round but in my case I would like to avoid facing a Spanish side.

Gaizka Toquero, Athletic forward
We were incredible. We went out there tonight to have possession of the ball and to win. We didn't want to rely on the first-leg result so we decided to go for it and it paid off thanks to a lot of hard work, dedication and a little luck. We created a lot of chances in order to win. We did our job well.

Manchester United will always be Manchester United but this time we deserved our victory and we deserved to get through. Our fans are incredible, they are always with us and pack out the stadium. Let's see who we get in the draw but the important thing is that we continue along the path we are now on. We don't care who we get because we know we are capable of beating anyone – we've shown that tonight.

Gorka Iraizoz, Athletic goalkeeper
Getting to the next round is massive for us. In terms of morale, it's a huge boost because we can say we have all worked together to eliminate Manchester United from the tournament. For our people, for our fans, this tournament is so important. The people around us believe in our philosophy, too. We've got everyone hooked on our style of play and it is such that they are carried along with us for 90 minutes. We are so lucky to be able to give hope to our supporters, that's like a gift to us.

David de Gea, United goalkeeper
We've come up against a superior team in this tie. You have to congratulate Athletic Club because they played the better football and deserved to win. If they can beat us, they can beat anyone and go all the way to the final. They are a spectacular team. They surprised us a lot at Old Trafford, where they came at us so strongly and pressed us back. We weren't expecting that. Here's hoping they get to the final. For us the objective now is to win the Premier League. We have to concentrate on that goal.

Last updated: 04/12/12 9.09CET

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