Enzo Pérez felt SL Benfica "deserved to go through with Paris Saint-Germain" after the Eagles' futile victory over the Group C winners, which Lima dedicated to the fans.
Article top media content
SL Benfica forward Lima dedicated the ultimately futile 2-1 success against a "great" Paris Saint-Germain team to the fans who hoped the Lisbon club would go all the way to the UEFA Champions League final in the city next May. Midfielder Enzo Pérez felt his side deserved to progress to the round of 16 based on their performances in Group C as a whole.
Paris captain-for-the-night Thiago Motta believes the French outfit are among the favourites to win the competition and that, with the players at their disposal, last season's quarter-finalists "can dream of going very far".
Enzo Pérez, Benfica midfielder
We played very well and ended up winning the game. We beat a great team. We were dependent on things going our way in the other match, but unfortunately it was not possible for us to reach the last 16. We fought hard against Paris and achieved a deserved win. We deserved to go through along with Paris Saint-Germain and in the match at Olympiacos we proved we had the quality to progress to the next stage. We lost in Greece and that was not a fair result because we were the better team. The only match in the group we deserved to lose was the one in Paris.
In the Europa League we'll have to take things one step at a time and not look too far ahead. The fact we reached the final last season is irrelevant. We cannot think we will make the final again just because we were there last term. We'll have to take things one round at a time. We hope to avoid the big teams in the round of 32, though we have to respect every team in the competition as they have the ambition of going all the way, just like ourselves.
Lima, Benfica forward
Unfortunately the win didn't qualify us. We knew we couldn't count much on the other match because it was always going to be difficult for Anderlecht. We fulfilled our end of the bargain by winning at home, beating a great team like Paris, and that victory was for the fans.
All Benfica fans dreamed about us playing the final at home, but we always knew we had to keep our feet on the ground. The players always thought first about getting out of the group rather than the final, but unfortunately what we did was not enough. We will have other chances.
Thiago Motta, Paris midfielder
We didn't need a win here, but we came with a winning mentality. We respected Benfica a lot, but we wanted to come here and win, especially as no French team has ever won here. However, it was not possible for us to get a victory mainly because Benfica put in a good performance. We were already qualified and deservedly so, and while Olympiacos only achieved their qualification tonight, they also deserved to go through. We are one of the five favourites to win the competition because, with the team we have and the players we have, we can dream of going far in the competition.
Salvatore Sirigu, Paris goalkeeper
We had our chances but in the Champions League you get punished when you're not at your best. Of course, we came here with the intention of getting a result even though we were already qualified. The defeat hurts and disappoints me because it's a defeat after all. We'd have been happier to have finished the group stage unbeaten and we were leading 1-0. Subconsciously we slackened off in the game and in the second half we were playing in a calm way whereas Benfica were going all out for the win they desperately needed.