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Semin salutes supporter power

Published: Wednesday 13 November 2002, 22.02CET
Yuri Semin paid tribute to his club's fans after FC Lokomotiv Moskva reached the second group stage.
Published: Wednesday 13 November 2002, 22.02CET

Semin salutes supporter power

Yuri Semin paid tribute to his club's fans after FC Lokomotiv Moskva reached the second group stage.

FC Lokomotiv Moskva coach Yuri Semin was understandably delighted with his side after their 2-0 win over Club Brugge KV at the Lokomotiv stadium in Moscow enabled the Russian side to progress to the second group stage of this season’s UEFA Champions League.

Rousing fightback
Lokomotiv finished in second place in Group H on seven points, although they needed group winners FC Barcelona to defeat Galatasaray SK 3-1 in Spain to guarantee their progress. However, the Russian side did well to bring themselves back into contention in this competition after taking only one point from their first four games.

'Thanks to the fans'
Coach Semin said that his side's success was a deserved reward for the club's fans, who gave the home side remarkable support in freezing conditions in Moscow. "I want to thank all our supporters – not only those who came to the ground but also the people who watched us on television – because finally we have brought them some joy," he said.

'Excellent commitment'
Semin went on to say that his side thoroughly deserved their win on the night, and paid tribute to the efforts of his players, who made light of the tricky conditions. "I am pleased that all our hard work was not in vain," he said. "I am very grateful to my players, who showed excellent commitment despite a very difficult playing surface."

'One of the best'
Semin revealed that he had formulated a special tactical plan to negate Brugge's aerial power, saying: "I told my players to keep the ball on the floor as much as possible. Brugge's players are very strong in the air, but my players followed my plan perfectly. This was one of our best matches."

'Barcelona would never lose'
Despite the fact that his side had to win and hope Barcelona, who had already won the group, would do them a favour in Spain, Semin claimed to be unworried. "I told my players at half-time that Barcelona were winning 1-0," he explained. "I knew they would win, because after we player them two weeks ago, [Barcelona coach] Louis van Gaal told me they would never lose to Galatasaray."

'They deserved to win'
Semin's opposite number Trond Sollied was downcast after his side failed to secure the draw that would have seen them through to the next stage, but also praised Lokomotiv. "They were smart, and played good football on the counterattack. We began the second half very well, but had too many [long-range] shots instead of trying to attack their defence. But we knew it would be very difficult to score, as Lokomotiv have the best defence in Russia, and they deserved their win."

Looking ahead
The Brugge coach refused to be too downhearted, and insisted his side were now looking forward to the UEFA Cup, which they will now join at the third round stage having finished third in the group. "We should have qualified before this game, but now we hope to do well in the UEFA Cup," he said. 

Last updated: 14/11/02 16.34CET

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