As Kasper Hjulmand winced after FC Nordsjælland's bruising campaign, Chelsea FC boss Rafael Benítez focused on the positives for the vanquished holders as they bowed out in style.
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Rafael Benítez, Chelsea interim manager
The other game was out of our hands; we just had to do our job. As a manager, you have to be pleased with the performance: 32 attempts, 18 on target, six goals. So you think about the positives while being really disappointed that we didn't progress. People have asked if we'll take the Europa League seriously, but every competition is serious for us. We'll do our best.
If we'd won 1-0 or 2-1, we'd think we could do better. At the moment [the players] are not happy but, at the same time, the feeling is there because they were doing so well. It can be a good reference point for the future. Now we are progressing, doing better things, and hopefully it will be better.
It was more than the win but the way we won: the character, attitude, intensity, chances we created. I'm really pleased for the club, the players, the fans and for me. Can we change the result of the other game? No. Can we change the situation? No. All we can do is try and improve and be ready for the next challenge.
Kasper Hjulmand, Nordsjælland coach
It is a terrible feeling. It was obvious to everyone we were ill-matched. Chelsea were much better than we were, physically, in terms of strength, tempo – we couldn't match them. Normally we can dominate play and turn over possession quickly, but against Chelsea we didn't have a chance. If we had scored, they would just have upped the tempo and created chances. We were nowhere near Chelsea's level.
What do we take from this Champions League experience? A lot of beatings. We spent £1m [€1.25m] putting this squad together, to put things into context, but we still had good spells in most of our matches. We'll use this experience and do everything we can to get back.