Despite only avoiding defeat at the death against impressive Romanian visitors SC Vaslui, the Fenerbahçe SK coach Aykut Kocaman still feels his team have the wherewithal to qualify.
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Fenerbahçe SK coach Aykut Kocaman said his side retain hope of qualifying for the UEFA Champions League play-offs despite requiring a last-minute equaliser to earn a 1-1 home draw with SC Vaslui. Bekir İrtegün struck the goal and the Turkish international defender said his team must match words with deeds when they journey to Romania next week.
Aykut Kocaman, Fenerbahçe coach
We were very ambitious in the first half but perhaps a bit too eager and often rushed our play. Their midfield resisted our pressure well. Contrary to expectations, Vaslui pressed us high up the pitch and did it well. We couldn't dictate the play and that created space for our opponents. We were more measured in the second half yet failed to create chances.
A mistake gave them the lead but Bekir's goal helped us get the draw and keep our hopes alive. I sensed a dejected mood around the ground but we shouldn't forget that we played against a team who were physically sharper than us. We have one week to recover. We can still go through and we can be knocked out – there's no room for dejection.
Bekir İrtegün, Fenerbahçe defender
We couldn't play the way we wanted in the first half. This boosted Vaslui's confidence but if we had replicated our second-half performance in the first, the result would have been different. For the return, we'll merge our motivation with quality and advance into the play-off round.
We never underestimated Vaslui. What surprised us was not actually Vaslui's play but our first-half performance. During the next week we need to elevate ourselves physically and mentally in order to be able to get the result we want. We'll be more powerful for the return leg.
There is no reason to despair, as our quality is obvious, but we always speak about our quality off the pitch: we need to show it on the pitch as well.
Marius Niculae, Vaslui striker
I think we were brilliant in the first half – we had possession of the ball, the best openings, we controlled the entire first half. In the second half we played more defensively and although we scored it was unfortunate to concede right at the end. I am happy because it's a draw with an away goal, and we now have a great chance in the second leg.
We are in the box seat but Fenerbahçe are one of the best teams around – they have brilliant players. They had a full stadium but we expected that. We held our concentration and claimed a good result. However, we also conceded goals at the end of each half in our first championship game, so will try to remedy that in the second leg.