|Attempts on target||5||2|
|Attempts off target||6||4|
There was a sense of relief as Olympiacos FC claimed their place in the group stage of the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday, but also an acknowledgement for the need to improve after an unconvincing 1-0 victory against Sheriff FC took them through 3-0 on aggregate.
After losing out to Anorthosis Famagusta FC in the third qualifying round last season the pressure was on to make amends this time round, and though Olympiacos put the seal on their qualification thanks to Kostas Mitroglou's 82nd-minute strike, celebrations at the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium were muted. "The most important thing for us was to qualify for the group stage which was even more crucial than to play well," midfielder Dudu said. "The fans were not satisfied with our performance and they are right, but we will improve and they will see a better Olympiacos in time."
It was a comment echoed by defender Raúl Bravo. "It's important that we are through to the group stage," he said. "Our performances will improve. It would have been catastrophic to have been elminated. We have been preparing for two months to qualify and it was very important to do so." Having overcome this hurdle, the 28-year-old former Real Madrid CF player could not hide who he would like to meet next. "I would love to have Real Madrid as a potential rival," he said. "Not because they are an easy side to face, but because it would give me the chance to visit my old home, the Santiago Bernabéu."
Defender Giorgos Galitsios was simply relieved his side had qualified. "Last season we failed to reach the group stage and that meant extra pressure this time round," he said, "but our comfortable victory in the away leg at Tiraspol made it easier for us in the return. We were not good tonight, but we are not looking for excuses. The qualification was the most significant thing tonight. As the season progresses, we will improve and we are confident we will be tougher in the group stage."
©UEFA.com 1998-2011. All rights reserved.