LOSC Lille Métropole may be out of the UEFA Champions League yet they exited the European stage with their heads held high according to striker Peter Odemwingie.
The French side's elimination was confirmed by last night's 1-0 loss at Manchester United FC, which ensured a 2-0 aggregate reverse. However, Odemwingie told uefa.com that Les Dogues could go home proud of their achievements in reaching the tournament's knockout stage for the first time. "We can be proud of what we did this season," he said. "I am glad for the whole group as we showed we are a good team, even though we don't have big talents like Manchester United. We got to another level in the UEFA Champions League and made history for our club, which is positive."
Hungry for more
After a third-placed finish in the group stage last season, Claude Puel's team progressed to the last 16 this time round with a 2-0 win at AC Milan in December. Odemwingie, a scorer at the San Siro, is now hoping Lille, currently third in Ligue 1, will return to the UEFA Champions League next term. "We improved on our first experience in the tournament last year and played against big teams like Milan and Manchester on the same level," said the 25-year-old. "It's given us confidence for the rest of the league campaign so we can get another ticket to the UEFA Champions League next year."
Tie lost in France
Odemwingie went closest for Lille at Old Trafford when heading against the post early in the second half with the game goalless. "It was unfortunate that I hit the post," he said. "But that is part of the game - in the first leg we also had chances to score." Adding that the tie was effectively lost in the first leg, the Nigerian international explained: "Coming here with a better result, maybe 1-0 or 0-0, it would have been different psychologically and that was where the tie was decided.
"I think we played two good games, only at home we couldn't get a better result," he continued. "I think we were a little bit timid as a team today on the big stage. The most important thing was not to concede a goal in the first 15 minutes but we were too conscious of that - that's why we were playing too fast up front. It meant we kept losing the ball although we saw where we were going wrong and tried to correct it."
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