Alexander Frei said FC Basel 1893 have work to do to reach the round of 32 though a 3-1 defeat of PFC CSKA Sofia kept them top of Group E but agreed they "would have to be sloppy to miss out".
Article top media content
FC Basel 1893 striker Alexander Frei warned that his side still have work to do to reach the UEFA Europa League round of 32 despite the 3-1 defeat of PFC CSKA Sofia that kept the Swiss side top of Group E.
Two goals again
Frei, who scored two goals in the 2-0 win in Sofia a fortnight ago, repeated the trick on Thursday to ensure Basel remain two points clear of AS Roma and crucially four in front of Fulham FC. Basel will go through with a win at Roma on 3 December, or a draw against Fulham 13 days later, but Frei knows neither result will be easy to come by. "We have nine points and we would have to be sloppy to miss out, but we have to be careful," the 30-year-old said. "We have to play in Rome and against Fulham at home, it's still a lot of work."
Now joint-top scorer in the group stage thanks to his four goals against CSKA, Frei said: "I'd never played against a Bulgarian team but I try to score in every match. Sometimes it's good, sometimes it's bad, but against Sofia it was very good." Frei also praised his strike partner Fernando Almerares, selected ahead of Marco Streller. "A compliment for Almerares; he's third-choice striker and he knows it but when he gets a chance he plays well," the Switzerland forward added.
Basel have had to overcome a spate of injuries, something which midfielder Scott Chipperfield blamed for their sluggish opening to the game prior to Marcos Gelabert's 35th-minute goal. "We've had a few players out injured and we've played a lot of games recently so we were a bit slow to start," Chipperfield said. "Once we got the first goal, that gave us confidence and we got the second a short time afterwards which was good."
CSKA scored arguably the best goal of the game through Todor Yanchev but it was not enough to spark a revival and with one point their hopes are now fading. "It was a beautiful goal but unfortunately it didn't bring us the three points," said CSKA midfielder Marquinhos. "Unfortunately things didn't go well for us; there were a few mistakes in defence and we conceded some goals."