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København's Solbakken breathes sigh of relief

Ståle Solbakken was "happy and relieved" that FC København made it over the line into the round of 16 with a 3-1 defeat of Panathinaikos FC and is already musing over potential opponents.

København's Solbakken breathes sigh of relief
København's Solbakken breathes sigh of relief ©UEFA.com

FC København coach Ståle Solbakken was "happy and relieved" after his side defeated Panathinaikos FC 3-1 to reach the UEFA Champions League round of 16 for the first time, two weeks after fluffing a previous "match point" with a 1-0 loss at FC Rubin Kazan. Panathinaikos were already confirmed fourth in Group D, two places behind FCK, but Jesualdo Ferreira took positives out of their performance tonight.

Ståle Solbakken, FC København coach
When we started in this tournament we could only cause a surprise, but towards the end of the group stage we twice had 'match point' and that increased the pressure on us, so I am happy and relieved that we succeeded. I dare say that we have maybe one of the best defences in the entire Champions League. At the same time, we play a good and solid basic game, and I think we were the second best team in this group. We have defeated Panathinaikos twice, and I also think that we were better than Rubin Kazan over two matches.

If we want to go [beyond the round of 16] we should avoid Real Madrid and the English big three, but if I were to point out some opponents, who we would have the best chance against, I would say Schalke, Tottenham or Shakhtar Donetsk, if those teams are among the opponents we could draw.

Jesualdo Ferreira, Panathinaikos coach
We were already eliminated and it's hard to play with no motivation against a strong side like København. Despite our defeat tonight, I am satisfied with my players' reaction in the second half. I am satisfied especially with the players who had been out of action for a long time and began training only in the last few days.

Our focus is now on the domestic front, with the aim of retaining our league title. Through hard work and given time, my players will gain in confidence and improve their game.