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Derby prospect thrills Sevilla's Rakitić

Published: Friday 28 February 2014, 0.14CET
Ivan Rakitić is looking forward to Sevilla FC's last-16 derby with Real Betis Balompié after seeing off NK Maribor, for whom Jean Philippe Mendy endured a tough night.
by Nick Aitken
from Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán

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Published: Friday 28 February 2014, 0.14CET

Derby prospect thrills Sevilla's Rakitić

Ivan Rakitić is looking forward to Sevilla FC's last-16 derby with Real Betis Balompié after seeing off NK Maribor, for whom Jean Philippe Mendy endured a tough night.

After a 2-1 success against NK Maribor confirmed progress for Sevilla FC, the talk in the Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán immediately turned to the much-anticipated derby clash with Real Betis Balompié in the UEFA Europa League round of 16.

Home captain Ivan Rakitić praised his side's industry while expressing his delight with the upcoming tie with Betis, while José Antonio Reyes revelled in the good fortune that brought about his opening goal. After defeat spelled the end of their chances, Maribor forward Jean Philippe Mendy reflected on a hard night's work and rued the absence of captain Tavares, who the Frenchman felt could have inspired the team to an upset.

Ivan Rakitić, Sevilla midfielder and captain
The most important thing was qualifying for the round of 16 and also picking up confidence by winning at home. I think we did a good job, we made it through and we hope to keep going like this. As you could see, we worked hard from the beginning to try and get a goal, while Maribor sat back waiting to hit us on the counter. We kept working at the same intensity the whole game and it was a good display. The first goal came about because we made it happen, José [Antonio Reyes] put pressure on [the Maribor keeper] and got his reward.

I think [the derby with Betis] will be the game with the most attention, but for us the most important thing is to stay on track. We really want to beat Betis. We have got a chance to show our fans we are a very strong and united team, and derbies are great to play in. We are going to take it one game at a time, trying to keep going all the way to the final.

José Antonio Reyes, Sevilla winger
It was mission accomplished, which was the most important thing. The goal was a bit lucky, but then again you still have to put the keeper under pressure [to make it happen]. It does not come off very often, but I was fortunate enough that it did this time. A derby is always a special game for everybody involved. It is a game everyone wants to play in, a game everyone wants to win and let us hope it goes our way.

Daniel Carriço, Sevilla midfielder
We have to enjoy this win. All I want to do is play and help my team-mates, so when I play as a holding midfielder I do what I have to do and the same goes for when I play in central defence. I enjoy both positions and I just want to play. The derby is going to be really exciting for us and for the fans too. It is a derby and we have got to get our preparations right. We are unbeaten in this competition so far and we would love to keep that going and go as far as we possibly can.

Jean Philippe Mendy, Maribor forward
Tonight we played a good game, but we were missing a player – our captain Tavares – who is very important to us, and without him we found it very difficult. We needed to be more aggressive and not be afraid, but Sevilla are a big team with more experience and in the end they had too much for us. It was a hard night for me, as I felt very isolated up front and was not able to get any chances to score. For me, the best moment of our European campaign was the win against Wigan [Athletic FC that secured a place in the round of 32]. That was a lovely feeling.

Last updated: 01/03/14 0.01CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuropaleague/season=2014/matches/round=2000470/match=2012640/postmatch/quotes/index.html#derby+thrills+rakitic

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