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Sporting Clube de Portugal forward Ricky van Wolfswinkel attributed his side's 3-2 aggregate success against FC Metalist Kharkiv down to "collective and individual ability" as he looked forward to a semi-final against Athletic Club, while Metalist midfielder Edmar blamed "bad luck".
Ricky van Wolfswinkel, Sporting forward
Our goal made our lives a lot easier, but we still had to work really hard in the second half. All of us battled hard for the whole 90 minutes and that is what is expected if you represent Sporting.
Metalist are a side with excellent players, but we also have ability as a team and individually, and that is the reason we are through. I am looking forward to enjoying the spectacular atmosphere of the Europa League further still.
I have never played against Athletic Bilbao, and they will be two very interesting matches for us. The recent success of Spanish teams is down to the mix of fantastic players with enormous individual potential, coupled with hard teamwork. We are, actually, very similar to a Spanish side in our approach.
Marat Izmailov, Sporting midfielder
It was a very tough match. We saw more fighting and running than passing tonight. We wanted to win and played more on the counterattack because we had a small advantage from the first leg. Our tactics were right, as proved by our qualification for the semi-finals.
We have not had any easy ties in the knockout stage. We started with an exceptionally hard [round of 32] win against Legia [Warszawa], followed by victory against one of the world's biggest teams, Manchester City, and now Metalist.
I am expecting an even tougher match against Athletic. I don't think I have played against them before and, apart from Fernando Llorente, I can't think of any of their players, but they are playing well in the Liga and that in itself means a lot. It's too early to talk about winning the trophy – I don't want to predict anything.
João Pereira, Sporting defender
It's a hard-earned but satisfying victory, but we have to keep cool because we have won nothing yet. I reckon our chances against Athletic Bilbao are 50-50 – they are a really good team from a top league.
Edmar, Metalist midfielder
We had no luck. We played the 90 minutes at a very good standard and it's a shame we didn't go through. That's football ‒ the best team doesn't always win. Their tactics were to hold on to their lead from the first leg and they punished us, scoring from one of the few chances we allowed them to create.
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