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Character key to Marseille's progress

Coach Erik Gerets hailed Olympique de Marseille's character after their goalless draw with Club Atlético de Madrid sealed a UEFA Cup place and left the Spanish side second, a position Javier Aguirre was happy to settle for.

Marseille and Atlético battled out a goalless draw
Marseille and Atlético battled out a goalless draw ©Getty Images

Olympique de Marseille coach Erik Gerets hailed his side's character after their goalless draw with Club Atlético de Madrid sealed third spot in Group D and a place in the UEFA Cup. Atlético were forced to settle for finishing second in the section, as were the likes of FC Internazionale Milano and Chelsea FC on the night, but coach Javier Aguirre was far from downcast as he turned his attention towards the first knockout round draw on 19 December.

Erik Gerets, Marseille coach
We would have been entirely satisfied with a win, but we produced a fine performance. I don't think we deserved to win because we didn't create many chances, but we definitely showed character in the rain on a heavy pitch which I experienced for myself when I went to thank the referee at the end of the game. Following on from [Saturday 's 2-1 win against] Nice, it's the second time we have started a game in that spirit, so I'm quite satisfied. To be honest, I'm not thinking too much about the rest of our adventure [in the UEFA Cup]. There are still a lot of games to play before then.

Javier Aguirre, Atlético coach
We finished second just like Chelsea and Inter. When the draw was made a few months ago, with Liverpool, Marseille and Eindhoven, we knew it would be tough and we would have settled for second spot. Tonight I want to express my respect to our opponents and to UEFA. The events surrounding this match never disturbed the game. We had to struggle against the elements – rain and mud. We are usually a team who likes to play good football. We saw tonight that Atlético has a bench and that every player felt involved. I will now look forward to the draw and hope it is kind to us.