Kouyaté lauds Anderlecht's battling qualities

Cheikhou Kouyaté praised RSC Anderlecht's "heart and fight" after their draw at Paris Saint-Germain, who "couldn't play our game" according to Zlatan Ibrahimović.

Kouyaté lauds Anderlecht's battling qualities
Kouyaté lauds Anderlecht's battling qualities ©UEFA.com

RSC Anderlecht centre-back Cheikhou Kouyaté paid tribute to his team's "heart and fight" after they reacted to a 5-0 home loss against Paris Saint-Germain on matchday three by drawing 1-1 in France to collect a first point in Group C.

"We still have a chance," added the Belgian club's goalscorer Demy de Zeeuw, despite his team lying bottom of the section, three points shy of next opponents SL Benfica. Frontrunners Paris missed the chance to seal their own qualification, meanwhile, and Zlatan Ibrahimović – who took his group stage tally to seven strikes with the equaliser – lamented the fact that the hosts "couldn't play our game today".

Cheikhou Kouyaté, Anderlecht defender
We're happy with the result and to get a point here because no one expected it. People told us right from the off that we'd get another hiding, but tonight the team showed up with a lot of heart and fight. We battled right to the end and that's what got us a point. We learned from our mistakes [in the first game]. Against this sort of team, you need to be tougher, impose yourself and fight. We couldn't come here with a complex. We played as a team and that's what made the difference.

We had more experience in midfield this time, with more players who've played at the highest level. It was important to be well organised. The coach told us to stay organised from start to finish and we were able to do that.

We know have nothing to lose now. We don't have our fate in our own hands, but we have to make sure we enjoy ourselves and fight in every match. We'll try to get points [against matchday six opponents Olympiacos] in Greece, which won't be easy, but we'll do everything we can and see where we are afterwards.

Demy de Zeeuw, Anderlecht midfielder
It was a nice attack of ours and I'm happy I could score a goal for Anderlecht. It's just sad that only two minutes after that they scored. We played well and it'll be good for us to take this into our next games because we haven't been in good form recently.

If we win [against Benfica on 27 November], we'll have a chance to maybe take second or third place. We showed today that we can play in the Champions League, and the next home game is very important, for us. If we win, everything is possible for us, but if we lose I think the Champions League is over.

We fought today and that was the most important thing for us. In the games before, we didn't fight. In the Champions League, you have to be a man and fight every duel, and we did that today. With the confidence we got today, we still have a chance.

Ibrahimović has so much personality in the game. You saw how the goalkeeper got to the ball [to parry his shot], but from the post it went right to his foot. You could say he was lucky, but the quality of Ibrahimović is that he's always in the right place to score goals. In the first game, he scored amazing goals. Today, we attacked him better and he was not really in the game, but then sometimes you see his quality and you cannot defend him all the time. His quality is on another level.

Zlatan Ibrahimović, Paris forward
We have ten points in total with two games to go, so we have two games to qualify. My goal meant one point, but I'd prefer to win the game and not score, but that's the way it is. We couldn't play our game today. We were losing 1-0 and scored to make it 1-1, so I'd say it's OK.

If we win against Olympiacos we'll be qualified, like we would have been today. We can do it in our next home game, so hopefully we'll do better than in this game and qualify. It's important that we didn't lose. It sends a clear message for Europe that we're doing well. We want to do well, we work hard for that and let's hope we can continue like that.

[Fit-again Thiago Silva] is very important for us. When he's on the field, the team is very confident and the team becomes much better.

Salvatore Sirigu, Paris goalkeeper
How you imagine things isn't always how they turn out in reality. We didn't play very well. Anderlecht were mentally prepared for this game in a different way to us. They were more ready and they caused us problems. It was difficult to play; we were a little below our usual level, which is normal because you can't always have a faultless standard of play. It's obvious that today we weren't as strong as last time.

We have two games left and we absolutely have to make sure we qualify. We'll have to do our best at home against Olympiacos next time to go through. That's our goal.

Our preparation for the match was a little different than usual in psychological terms. In the Champions League, if you're having difficulties in the game and you're not at 100%, it's always tough. We knew Anderlecht were coming to Paris to put on a good show after losing 5-0 in Brussels. We knew they were coming here to put in a different performance. The problem was that we weren't up to our usual standard.