Jovanović revels in historic APOEL success
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Ivan Jovanović proclaimed Wednesday the "most important night in APOEL's history" after the Cypriot minnows advanced to the quarter-finals at Olympique Lyonnais's expense.
Article top media content
Ivan Jovanović, APOEL coach
This is the most important night in APOEL's history; a big night for APOEL, the fans and Cypriot football. We never believed that we would be where we are today. But when you have players which so much confidence, then it is possible. When you have a stadium filled with fans like ours, then it is possible. This is fantastic for everyone.
I said before the tie that for us to advance, we needed the perfect game. As they game went on, we showed we could withstand their pressure and therefore our hopes were alive. But we needed to do a lot of running and be competitive in every battle. The 1-0 lead was brittle but for 120 minutes we continued to seek that extra goal. The most important thing was that we were focused and determined. I won't hide the fact that the players who took the penalties decided themselves to take them.
The victory belongs to the players and the fans. We have worked hard for this. Nothing makes you happier than seeing so many people rejoice from your achievement. I am delighted to have helped the APOEL fans enjoy such moments.
Rémi Garde, Lyon coach
It was a big disappointment tonight, a setback. APOEL are not a big name, but as we saw, they deserved to be in the last 16 and even the last eight. For me, it's disappointing. You can imagine that no one is satisfied tonight. However, being depressed won't move us forwards. I have no regrets regarding my substitutions, but I recognise that it's an endless debate. Naturally, a defeat will bring criticism. I think I tried to keep up with a well-balanced team thoughout the game.
At 1-0, who knew what would happen? I had to manage tired players with extra time in mind. Fortunately, we have no time to reflect. I think we have a 'gift' at the Gerland on Saturday with Lille [in Ligue 1]. We'll have no time to get depressed by this setback. We still have the league, the French League Cup final [against Olympique de Marseille] and a French Cup quarter-final ahead. That should be enough to motivate any professionnal player.