Pleased but cautious was the overwhelming feeling in the Sevilla FC camp following their 2-0 UEFA Europa League semi-final first-leg win over Valencia CF while opening goalscorer Stéphane Mbia also found effusive praise for captain Ivan Rakitić. Understandably more subdued in the post-match mixed zone, Javier Fuego and Jérémy Mathieu nonetheless insisted a comeback is not beyond their side next Thursday.
Stéphane Mbia, Sevilla midfielder
I don't really know what happened [with the goal]. I wasn't really sure where I was, then suddenly I had the ball and I scored. I'm so happy for the whole team, because we all worked really hard.
Ivan is so important, he's like our [Lionel] Messi. He's a great player who can make the difference with free-kicks, can give good passes, go forward, get balls into the box and he's a very good guy. Everybody knows the second leg will be really difficult.
They caused us a lot of problems, they had good opportunities to score but we're so happy that Valencia didn't score and we're going to go there and try and do something good. But we know it'll be difficult there because Valencia played really well and we've got so much respect for them. We need to stay calm, try and do our best, it's just one game away from our dream.
Ivan Rakitić, Sevilla midfielder
We played a good game, we played with a good level of intensity and we’re very pleased with the style and the tempo of our play. At the end of the day, the best team won. We enjoyed the game and I think that the fans will be pleased too, because they've seen a very high-quality game. What’s more, keeping a clean sheet is always important.
Carlos Bacca, Sevilla forward
I'm happy about the team's performance, because we played a great game against Valencia who are very tough opponents. And as well as winning the game, we managed to keep a clean sheet.
I'm very happy about my current form, but it's also down to the hard work and the ability of my team-mates. I'm hoping to keep working hard to try and fulfil both individual and collective objectives.
Vitolo, Sevilla winger
In a tie like this, when you're playing at home it's vital not to concede goals. Once we opened the scoring it gave us more belief, we went looking for the second goal and fortunately we got it.
I've got a lot of confidence in Bacca, he's a top-class striker and we always combine well whenever we play in attack together, both with each other and with our other team-mates.
I'm pleased to be able to do my bit for the team. There's one step to take and we have to try and get through any way possible. The good thing about this team is we're all really determined to get to the final, let's hope we can do it. If we can get a goal [in Valencia] they'd have to score a few which would be difficult, because we're very strong defensively right now.
Javi Fuego, Valencia defender
It's a two-legged tie and we're taking a negative result home with us, but we'll do everything we can to get through to the final. We have to focus on the positives and in the second half we attacked well and created chances, although it's true that Sevilla had chances too because we were pushing forward more. I think it's a result that we can turn around though, we'll be playing at home and the atmosphere will be spectacular.
At the end of the day, we can look at the Basel game, when we played a poor first leg and a really good second leg. We have to take the positives from this performance, despite the result, and I think at Mestalla we'll be able to make life very hard for Sevilla and keep the tie wide open.
We've had a very good Europa League season. Except for a couple of games, we've played very well and, even today, aside from the odd key error we played well as a team and we need to remember that. We’re still really optimistic, we’re thrilled with all the fans that came here, and I'd like to say a huge thanks to them for all the support they gave us – they're vital to us. I think that at Mestalla they’re going to give us massive support and, I want to emphasise this, the tie's not over yet.
Jérémy Mathieu, Valencia defender
All of us will need to be at our best to try and turn this tie around. We did it against Basel and I think we're capable of doing it again. When the ball just won't go in it's hard to take [referring to late chances for Jonas and Eduardo Vargas], but at Mestalla it will. That’s what happened against Basel, it was an incredible night and Thursday has to go the same way.
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