Athletic look ahead, BATE take stock

Despite elimination from the UEFA Champions League, Athletic's Mikel San José was "excited" to still be in Europe while BATE goalkeeper Artem Soroko learned from an "incredible experience".

Markel Susaeta (No14) celebrates after sealing a 2-0 win
Markel Susaeta (No14) celebrates after sealing a 2-0 win ©AFP/Getty Images

Athletic pick up the win to ensure qualification for UEFA Europa League
Midfielder Markel Susaeta admits they "arrived late" to the UEFA Champions League
BATE's Artem Soroko relishes first experience of the competition
Aleksandr Yermakovich will use the break to reassess his squad 
Round of 16 draw takes place in Nyon at 12.00CET on 15 December

Aleksandr Yermakovich, BATE coach
We tried to play with a solid defence and fast counterattacks but it didn't work. Athletic were better than us, they won the match and qualified for the Europa League. You can't judge us solely on this match but on the whole season. We have a break now which we will use to reassess.

Artem Soroko, BATE goalkeeper
The feeling we're left with is that we earned the right to be involved in this competition. We've got a young team but our opponents have hit really high standards and that's just what happens. I'm only 22 and this has been a great experience, I've learned a lot for the future. It's been an incredible feeling to play in the Champions League and I'm really grateful to have been given the opportunity

Ernesto Valverde, Athletic coach
Our target was to win, not just for a spot in the Europa League. We also wanted to win to give a victory to our fans, to have seven points, to forget the last performance where we were poor.

For us to get a ticket for the Europa League is meeting that target. We would have liked to do better but all my players were debutants in the Champions League and this competition is hard when you are inexperienced. We also had to face the Champions League while struggling in the league. It made it hard to enjoy the matches and meant we had a lot to overcome.

Mikel San José, Athletic defender
It was a complete performance by us from start to finish. We were the better team and we're all really pleased to have achieved our objective of finishing third. Now we have to keep going. Even if there'd been nothing at stake, it would have been important to win this game with an eye on Sunday's derby against Real Sociedad. The key today was to secure third place, keep playing in European competition and put on a positive display in front of our fans.

We're excited about the Europa League but we're not getting carried away, we want to see who we're drawn against first. But we feel we're capable of big things in that competition if we take things step by step and compete as hard as we did today.

Mikel Rico, Athletic midfielder
We are known for being a very solid, united team. We've finished the Champions League positively, picking up two straight wins that's made us one of the best third-placed teams. Now we're going into a competition that we like and we're excited about. It was important for us to win, to give ourselves and the fans a boost. Athletic's last Europa League campaign was incredible and we got to the final. In the Champions League, however, if you don't play at your best every time then you're made to pay.

Markel Susaeta, Athletic midfielder
We were really keen to stay involved in Europe and that depended on winning today. It was clear that the team were determined to put on a good show and that's what happened. We've arrived a little late to this competition and played well in the last two games. We're very enthusiastic about playing in the Europa League, it's a competition that we've had a lot of joy in and we go into it full of excitement. It's a real reward for the whole team.

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