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Defoe happy Tottenham leave San Siro alive

Published: Friday 15 March 2013, 0.46CET
Tottenham Hotspur FC's Jermain Defoe said his heart went when Esteban Cambiasso had the chance to cap a remarkable comeback by FC Internazionale Milano.
by Paolo Menicucci
from San Siro

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Published: Friday 15 March 2013, 0.46CET

Defoe happy Tottenham leave San Siro alive

Tottenham Hotspur FC's Jermain Defoe said his heart went when Esteban Cambiasso had the chance to cap a remarkable comeback by FC Internazionale Milano.

Jermain Defoe said he was happy "in a strange way" after Tottenham Hotspur FC reached the quarter-finals courtesy of an Emmanuel Adebayor goal after FC Internazionale Milano forced extra time with a spectacular recovery at San Siro.

Esteban Cambiasso wasted a good opportunity to make the comeback complete in second-half added time. "You can imagine, my heart [sank]," Defoe told UEFA.com of the moment he saw the English side's UEFA Europa League hopes slipping away. Cambiasso opted to gloss over his chance. "I would be much more bothered had our performance been disappointing," he said.

Jermain Defoe, Tottenham forward
I don't know [what went wrong]. I think it's always going to be difficult when you come to San Siro. I don't know, it was totally a different game from the first leg. We tried to stop them getting an early goal but we still tried to just win the game, like normal. But they got the goals and made it difficult for us, they put us under a lot of pressure. We are disappointed with the performance but it's good we are through.

Sometimes it's difficult when you play a second leg and you think you are 3-0 up. It's difficult but you have to try being professional and approach it like a normal game, trying to win. We tried to do that but they got the goals. Yes, we are disappointed with the night, with the performance; but the main thing was going through and we have done that.

What did I think when Cambiasso had the chance to score the fourth for Inter in added time? You can imagine, my heart. In that case luck was on our side. Even after the game, the Inter fans were clapping because they know their team had a good performance and they tried everything. They have done well to get the goals, but we are happy, in a strange way, because at least we are through.

Brad Friedel, Tottenham goalkeeper
We thought beforehand that the tie was definitely not over. When you play at the San Siro it is always difficult. When they scored the first goal in the first half, it was important for them; then, when they scored the other, it was really too early for us and we were on the back foot. Having said that, we showed great character to stick in there, we got a goal and made it difficult for them.

At our place we were on the front foot and put them under tremendous pressure. Tonight they did the same to us – they played a lot of good through balls, putting us under pressure in the first half, and took us out of the game. So they did a little bit of the same of what we did to them.

I don't know which of my saves was the most difficult, I'm just happy that we went through. I guess every save is important but also their goalkeeper made some great saves today.

Esteban Cambiasso, Inter midfielder
Our performance was great from every point of view. It was a demonstration not only of commitment, but also of very good quality football. It is fair to say so, just as it was to admit that in the first leg we were outclassed by Tottenham in all areas. Tonight it was a completely different story. We're sad to exit the competition, but we lost with dignity.

I had a chance to score our fourth goal in the dying seconds of the second half, but it's not something I regret. It's not about a single chance to write history, it's about everything that happens throughout the match. I would be much more bothered had our performance been disappointing.

Instead we can be proud of ourselves. I don't think in the next few games we will pay the price of wasting energy in extra time. It's not only about physical strength, but also mental. Given the difficult period we were going through, we needed an outstanding performance like this. So, in the dressing room, we were not blown away by our defeat, despite being unhappy with our exit. We know that if we keep playing like this we can reach our remaining targets for the season.

Ricardo Álvarez, Inter midfielder
Obviously we are unhappy with our UEFA Europa League exit, but it was a great display. We may have got more from this match, but in football you don't always get what you deserve. I'm glad I scored, although the final result left a bitter taste in the mouth. We must keep our heads up and concentrate on our next Serie A matches.

Our target is to finish third in the league and it will not be easy. Tonight's performance encourages us, even if Tottenham played with a little less pace than they did in the first leg. We were only one goal away from qualification. If we start games at our best, like we did today, we are a totally different team from the one you saw at White Hart Lane.

Last updated: 16/03/13 0.11CET

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