Captain Igor De Camargo credited new coach Domenico D'Onofrio for guiding R. Standard de Liège through to the quarter-finals of the UEFA Europa League, claiming an improved spirit in the squad is clearly paying dividends following Thursday's 1-0 victory against Panathinaikos FC.
D'Onofrio took over from László Bölöni five weeks ago and Standard have responded well to their new coach. They followed up last week's 3-1 round of 16 first-leg win in Athens with a resolute performance at the Stade Maurice Dufrasne where Dieudonné Mbokani's goal on the stroke of half-time earned them a 4-1 aggregate victory.
"Domenico D'Onofrio has brought [a good] ambiance back to the dressing room," De Camargo, 26, said. "He knows how to get this team motivated. That is the basis of this success: motivation and the fact we are laughing again in the dressing room."
There was plenty of reason for cheer after Mbokani's strike had taken Standard through to the last eight. "I saw a strong Standard today," De Camargo added. "Especially in first half we played a very clever game. We gave away very little, we did not let them get into their game. We got some chances ourselves and one went in. We certainly deserved that."
The Brazilian-born Belgian international deemed Standard well worth their last-eight place, and is now looking forward to how far D'Onofrio's revitalised outfit can go in the competition. "Looking back over the two matches we were better then Panathinaikos," the forward said. "Tonight we are allowed to celebrate, but not too much, as on Sunday we have to play an important match again. How far we can get in Europa League? If we can keep on playing like we did today, the final will be possible."
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