"In the last two years, this club has gone in just one direction: up," said Aalborg BK coach Allan Kuhn as he reflected on the victory against Celtic FC which secured third place in Group E and a berth in the UEFA Cup.
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"A wonderful day for the town and everyone connected to the club" was caretaker coach Allan Kuhn's take on the 2-1 victory against Celtic FC which secured third place in Group E and a berth in the UEFA Cup knockout rounds for Aalborg BK. The 40-year-old reserved special praise for Brazilian midfielder Caca who sparked the fightback with an equalising goal, while visiting boss Gordon Strachan was left to "take defeat on the chin" despite cursing the defensive deficiencies which contributed to a premature exit from Europe.
Allan Kuhn, Aalborg coach
What can you say after a game like that? We have had some wonderful moments at this club in recent seasons and that is right up there, although I would say our title win last season still slightly overshadows it. But it's great that we can give the fans something back. It's a wonderful day for the town and everyone connected to the club. The first half was not great for us, then Celtic scored a wonderful goal. But I felt we responded fantastically. Before the game I spoke about the marginal differences and I felt we edged those tonight.
We got a deflected goal for 1-1 then the own goal to win the match. Those are the things that change a match. When you have so many brave hearts out on the field, you always have a chance to win and we had them tonight. I always knew we could score goals, I never gave up hope and we did it. In recent times, we have had some very good results at home in European competition and I don't see why we can't, perhaps, repeat that in the [UEFA Cup]. We'll see what kind of draw we get. In the last two years, this club has gone in just one direction: up.
Caca had a great influence on the game and his goal gave us a huge boost. I thought he could just be the one to make the difference and he proved it. He provides something different from the Danish players in the squad. It was a cold night for him, but he's a little warmer now. He has scored lots of goals for us this autumn and he's also working hard. I guess Manchester United will play their second team [on Matchday 6] but that will still be a great experience for us all. We'll go there and give it our best shot.
Gordon Strachan, Celtic manager
It was there for us, but our inability to keep a clean sheet was our downfall. Until we get that sorted, things like what happened tonight are possible. I have to say that I didn't feel AaB had posed too much of a threat at that stage. Everything was in place, but then our defending let us down, as it has done in the past away from home. We created some very good chances in the first half and in the second half for that matter. But, at Champions League level, if you don't take them you can be punished and that's what happened."
It's always tough when, after the game, you're sitting in the dressing room and can hear the opposition singing and shouting next door, celebrating beating you. The players are feeling bad and so they should because they can't believe they've lost that game of football. It's the players who hurt most; they'll be feeling it far more than me.
I actually felt it was one of our better displays away from home. In the first half, there was no threat from Aalborg and we had a couple of good chances on the counter. A lot of the things we planned to do worked well. But we have to take defeat on the chin, as it doesn't do us any good to talk about circumstances. We'll have to deal with it as a team. But, overall, I feel the performances away from home, apart from Manchester United, have been good. There will be a lot of teams around Europe who would love to have an away record like ours, but they can't reach the Champions League. We keep getting there to keep this run going, however, over last three years our inability to keep clean sheets has been our downfall.