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Goalkeeper David de Gea admitted that Manchester United FC almost paid the price for taking their foot off the pedal as, after Javier Hernández scored early to increase their UEFA Europa League round of 32 aggregate lead over AFC Ajax to 3-0, they almost allowed the Dutch side to pip them to a meeting with Athletic Club.
David de Gea, United goalkeeper
We started very well with a goal from Chicharito which put us in control but I think we relaxed a bit and felt too complacent and if you do that against a team like Ajax, what happened to us can happen – you lose the game. I have to be there for moments like [the second-half stop from Siem de Jong's header], to try and make the save.
I was lucky enough to be able to help the team and now we’re in the next round. The manager wasn't happy but we got through and that's the important thing. [Athletic] are a good team. I've got lots of friends there and it'll be great to go back to Spain – and to win.
Nani, United midfielder
It was a bad result – every time we lose at home, it's a bad result for us. We played better in the first half, in the second half we gave them the opportunity in the last ten minutes to believe they could score. We made one or two mistakes and that got them the goal. In general we controlled the game for a lot of the time but if you don’t score, that doesn't matter. Ajax did well, they played good football and showed confidence and the belief they could score.
Miralem Sulejmani, Ajax forward
We gave it our best. After the 2-0 defeat in Amsterdam we had nothing to lose, and we can be very satisfied – to beat Manchester United at Old Trafford is a big honour for us. We conceded very early, then we woke up and scored a very important goal in the first half and saw our chance. We dominated in the second half but in the end it was not enough to go through.
We didn't have the luck, we had a few chances for the second goal but didn’t get it [sooner], which was a shame. All of the team can be satisfied in one sense; in another we didn't go through but it was still a big experience to play here and we can take confidence [from it]. I was really surprised by the number of our fans who came and it was great for us – the victory was for them.
Jan Vertonghen, Ajax defender
The game gave us a lot of confidence but I think at the end we have to be more clever and get more crosses in. If we had cut out some mistakes then we would have had a chance of qualification. That’s what Ajax is all about, young players who are growing. It's amazing what we can do. The guys who played here did very well.
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