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APOEL coach 'the happiest man in the world'

Ivan Jovanović was thrilled to "be up there with the best 16 in Europe" after guiding APOEL FC into the knockout stage for the first time with a 0-0 draw away to FC Zenit St Petersburg.

APOEL coach 'the happiest man in the world'
APOEL coach 'the happiest man in the world' ©UEFA.com

Luciano Spalletti, Zenit coach
Overall the team played a good match against strong opposition. There were times when we failed to capitalise on the chances we created, sometimes because we were too eager in attack. Maybe we need our minds to be clearer in order to finish the chances we create.

At the same time, I'd like to point out that we didn't lose the balance between attack and defence for a minute. We didn't allow APOEL to create a single opportunity near our goal and don't forget that they scored in every previous [Group G] match. Tonight they had one shot in 95 minutes, so I can only congratulate my guys as I did previously.

Ivan Jovanović, APOEL coach
I am the happiest man in the world right now. We have achieved something which three months ago we had no right to even dream of. This is a crowning moment for all the effort we have made since the summer, a crowning moment for all those associated with the club.

We still have a lot of targets and motivations in front of us right now. We said in the summer that we need to prove what we can do on the pitch. And we are deservedly through with a game to spare. The fact that we are up there with the best 16 in Europe is an even bigger motivation for us.

Our aim now is to secure first place in the group and to put on a good show once again when we play Shakhtar in Nicosia. We didn't want things to go down to the wire which was why we wanted to wrap things up tonight. I am so proud of my players. They have played extremely well and I believe we have earned the respect of all our opponents.

We want to celebrate more great nights along with, not just our own fans, but all Cypriot fans back home.