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Cool Solbakken urging FCK to make history

Ståle Solbakken has called on his FC København players to "make history" and beat eliminated Panathinaikos FC to book a UEFA Champions League round of 16 place.

Cool Solbakken urging FCK to make history
Cool Solbakken urging FCK to make history ©UEFA.com

FC København coach Ståle Solbakken has called on his players to "make history" and beat Panathinaikos FC to book a UEFA Champions League round of 16 place. København, a point ahead of third-placed FC Rubin Kazan, must ensure they at least match the Russian team's result at group winners FC Barcelona. Panathinaikos may be already eliminated but coach Jesualdo Ferreira said they would be looking to restore some pride in the Danish capital.

Ståle Solbakken, København coach
We have to win tomorrow as Barcelona will rest players, increasing the chances of a Rubin Kazan upset. After struggling to play up to our standards in the league following our meeting with Barcelona [the 1-1 draw on Matchday 4] I feel we are back on track and full of confidence. The match in Russia against Rubin Kazan [a 1-0 defeat] was the turning point as I feel we produced an excellent display and certainly deserved at least a point. Since then we have looked sharp, been scoring goals and looked organised defensively.

Panathinaikos are already out but they will still be tough opponents. We are used to the pressure though and it is a positive pressure now compared to our play-offs against Rosenborg because we simply had to qualify following last season's disappointment at that stage. I love the tense atmosphere surrounding this kind of match – we have a chance of making history for the club. Mikael Antonsson is fit and will be starting tomorrow. It might be a slight gamble but he is like Dolph Lundgren in Rocky IV.

Jesualdo Ferreira, Panathinaikos coach
Before the start of the group stage every team has three objectives: finish first or second and qualify for the knockout phase or if that fails come third and qualify for the UEFA Europa League. Unfortunately we have failed to accomplish any of these goals so all we have left to play for is pride. The situation for FC København is the complete opposite of ours as they need the win to progress, but we will still try to give them a good game and I hope we can leave here with a victory.

København are a very good side and they deserve to be in the Champions League. They press their opponents very aggressively and are organised at the back, which makes them difficult to play against. We are top of the Greek Super League at the moment but I will not pick my team with Sunday's league match in mind as we take things one match at a time.

Team news
Dame N'Doye returned from a groin injury at the weekend and Martin Vingaard and Antonsson (chest muscle), both withdrawn before half-time in the win against Esbjerg fB, are fit. Hjalte Nørregaard (hamstring) and Martin Bergvold (knee) remain long-term absentees.

Ferreira has left Giourkas Seitaridis (fatigue) and Sidney Govou (illness) in Greece. Stergos Marinos was an unused substitute against Panserraikos FC on Saturday because of a calf knock. Sotiris Ninis returned after nearly two months out with foot and quadricep injuries but Sebastian Leto remains absent with a knee problem which has sidelined him since 3 October.

Weekend results
04/12/10 København 3-1 Esbjerg fB
(N'Doye 18 88, Pospěch 23; Lange 51)
FCK became the first ever side to reach the Danish winter break unbeaten, winning 16 of their 19 games. Their 51-point tally is the highest ever achieved by any team at this stage of a Super League campaign; they are 19 points clear at the top of the table.

04/12/10 Panathinaikos 2-0 Panserraikos FC
(Boumsong 16, Cissé 69)
Lazaros Christodoulopoulos set up both goals, withJean-Alain Boumsong's effort his first for Panathinaikos. New club captain Djibril Cissé took his tally to 13 in 12 league appearances this season – no other Panathinaikos player has registered more than twice.

Did you know?
When København met Benfica in the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round in August 2007, Kostas Katsouranis scored the only goal of the second leg to seal the Portuguese side's 3-1 aggregate triumph.

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