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Quique Flores pays tribute to players

Quique Sánchez Flores hailed a historic night for Club Atlético de Madrid yet his team's UEFA Europa League triumph in Hamburg was a bitter blow for Fulham FC to take.

Quique Flores pays tribute to players
Quique Flores pays tribute to players ©UEFA.com

Coach Quique Sánchez Flores was delighted to have fulfilled the dreams of Club Atlético de Madrid supporters everywhere by ending a 14-year wait for silverware and lifting the club's first European trophy since 1962. If Atlético's 2-1 extra-time triumph against Fulham FC represented an affirming moment for the Spanish team, the London club's manager Roy Hodgson felt great sadness at seeing his side's brave performance go unrewarded.

Quique Sánchez Flores, Atlético coach
We are thrilled to have won a very tough final and a very difficult competition. It is a huge satisfaction – Atlético are a big, big club and we have made thousands of people happy tonight. It is the players' moment, it is their time to celebrate. This is a massive occasion in the history of the club. This UEFA Europa League final was a big opportunity for our team, but it was never going to be easy and when you do manage to cross the line it is a fabulous feeling.

Fulham are a very well-organised side and they made it very difficult for us to find that second goal. It was like we played two matches against that defence of theirs. They were great opponents but I would say that overall we deserved the victory. I am really proud of my players. They deserve all the credit because they were able to overcome a complicated situation. I can only stress my admiration for the work they have put in to turn our campaign around. It has been a long, hard season and that makes this success even more special. There are a lot of emotions that come out after an achievement like this. But I would like to dedicate this triumph to my four children and to Atlético fans everywhere.

Roy Hodgson, Fulham manager
Obviously we are very disappointed. I thought we put on another very good show and the game was heading for penalties. In fact, despite the obvious fatigue, the players were looking good value – well-organised and disciplined – but unfortunately Diego Forlán popped up and there was no time to recover. We deserved to go to penalties, but it wasn't to be. All the same, it has been a magnificent achievement – everyone wants to finish first but to finish second is something we can be very proud of.

However, the players are very, very down. Penalties are a lottery but they fancied their chances. To concede so late was a bitter blow and it will take time before that pain passes. Having seen the team acquit itself so well, you'd have liked to think we could have taken that extra step. It is a bitter disappointment and great sadness to see yet another great performance go unrewarded.

Overall, it has been a great competition – we can only say good things about it. We have played some fantastic teams and here again we've had an excellent game against one of Europe's top teams. The format is much more interesting now that it is similar to the Champions League, and UEFA should be congratulated on that.