FC Zenit St Petersburg captain Danny was left wondering what might have been after his side beat AC Milan, who still progressed to the knockout phase at their expense.
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It was a night of mixed emotions for FC Zenit St Petersburg captain Danny after his second goal in as many UEFA Champions League starts this season earned a 1-0 win at AC Milan that sealed third place in Group C and qualification for the UEFA Europa League. However, victory against opponents who will progress to the knockout stages at Zenit's expense only emphasised the size of the opportunity missed, the Portuguese winger telling UEFA.com: "Considering the quality we have in this team we could have done much better." Meanwhile, Milan midfielder Urby Emanuelson was satisfied with the performance of his side despite defeat and is now looking ahead to the round of 16 draw.
Danny, Zenit captain
We started [the group stage] very badly. Considering the quality we have in this team we could have done much better. It was a difficult group but we lost a few games in a period when we were not playing well. We finished well and we have the Europa League at least; we have to keep going and trying to show that we really are a strong team. We continue in the Europa League and we will try to go all the way.
It was important for me to score tonight. I'm playing again after being out for nine months with an injury and it is always good to help the team earn points. We did not manage to make our dream come true but now we start thinking about the next objectives: our domestic league and the Europa League. Now we have to hold our heads high knowing that we have enough quality to end the season well. My shot was very precise, but the most important thing is that it went in, we won and got third place.
Aleksandr Anyukov, Zenit defender
It was a good win but everybody expected better results from us this season. Of course we are happy with this win, but we will not play in the UEFA Champions League next spring. We have good players, many internationals, with a lot of experience and talent; we were just not lucky in a couple of games. We have to play one more game in the league before going on holiday, after which we start our preparation in January and then we will see who we will have to face in the Europa League. We will do everything to be ready.
Urby Emanuelson, Milan midfielder
We played well and didn't deserve to lose. Of course we did, but the team put in a good performance and now we can see who we will get in the next round. We wanted to give them a good fight.
We know it is going to be difficult [in the round of 16] as we are going to face a team which finished first in their group so it will be tough. We just need to see who we get and then try to give everything to come out as victors. It is hard to see who are the best team at the moment. I think it is really close. It will certainly be a difficult game for us, we just have to wait and see.
Massimo Ambrosini, Milan captain
We played better than Zenit tonight. We didn't give them anything, only the shot for their goal. In the first half we played very well, while in the second we caused them confusion when trying to attack in numbers. We are sorry for ourselves and for our fans but the spirit was right. We gave everything from the start to the end. The round of 16 is a very difficult hurdle and many big teams often fall at that stage. However, we are a team that is developing fast after a slow start so we just have to continue on this path, playing every game with this spirit.