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Basel head boy Stocker sizing up Salzburg

Published: Thursday 27 February 2014, 23.42CET
Valentin Stocker enjoyed the "head tiki-taka" in FC Basel 1893's win over Maccabi Tel-Aviv FC but said their focus has already switched to next opponents FC Salzburg.
by Sam Adams
from St. Jakob-Park

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Published: Thursday 27 February 2014, 23.42CET

Basel head boy Stocker sizing up Salzburg

Valentin Stocker enjoyed the "head tiki-taka" in FC Basel 1893's win over Maccabi Tel-Aviv FC but said their focus has already switched to next opponents FC Salzburg.

He scored the first and made the third with what he called a bit of "head tiki-taka", and now FC Basel 1893 playmaker Valentin Stocker is looking forward to the challenge of FC Salzburg in the UEFA Europa League round of 16. Basel's fallen rivals Maccabi Tel-Aviv FC had progressed past December for the first time in European competition and although forward Rade Prica took pride in that achievement, he also rued the chances his team passed up just before the hosts scored their second.

The third goal was a funny one because it was a bit of head tennis – head tiki-taka really!
Valentin Stocker on Marco Streller's second of the night
From the beginning, no one believed we would go through the group but we did and we made progress throughout the year.
Maccabi forward Rade Prica sums up their campaign

Valentin Stocker, Basel midfielder
We made the perfect start with a quick goal, which was great for us. Honestly, we had the feeling from the beginning that we were the better team individually – a week ago you couldn't see it but today everybody in our team knew the importance of this game.

We were switched on today – ready mentally. The third goal was a funny one because it was a bit of head tennis – head tiki-taka really!

Now we have Salzburg. We know [fellow Swiss] Christian Schwegler plays for them and I know they have invested a lot because they want to be successful in European football. Against Ajax, they showed they are getting there. In terms of international experience we have the edge, but this won't necessarily win us the tie because we are two evenly matched teams.

Rade Prica, Maccabi forward
We knew from the beginning that Basel were a very good team, a strong team – if you don't take chances like we had in the second half to make it 1-1 ... we have to score those chances to have any chance of winning.

It was different to the first time we played them this season [in the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round]. It was hard for us to create big chances. They played both games, in Tel Aviv and here, with many defenders – it was very hard for us. Those chances were perhaps the turning point. It's hard to say – you just have to score with those chances.

From the beginning, no one believed we would go through the group but we did and we made progress throughout the year. Now we can focus on the league and hopefully take new steps next season.

You don't get lots of chances at this level and it's important to take the chances that you get.

Last updated: 01/03/14 0.01CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuropaleague/season=2014/matches/round=2000470/match=2012646/postmatch/quotes/index.html#stockers+heads+play

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