Athletic Club striker Fernando Llorente adjudged his side's counterpunching 4-2 victory at FC Schalke 04 a "fair" result but warned against taking a semi-final berth for granted.
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Athletic Club striker Fernando Llorente believes his side's counterpunching 4-2 UEFA Europa League quarter-final first-leg win at FC Schalke 04 was a "fair" result but warned of the perils of taking qualification for granted against dangerous opponents. Schalke's Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, meanwhile, rued "bad luck" but midfielder Christian Fuchs was more critical of his team's "too risky" approach.
Fernando Llorente, Athletic striker
We have to be happy as it was a very difficult match. They pressurised us a lot and managed to turn the match around after I opened the scoring. We had some difficult moments after they scored their second, but we believed in ourselves and got our game back, passing the ball well and getting players forward. So we managed to create a lot of chances.
We were pretty effective. I think the result is a fair one, we had another three clear chances, and I think we can be happy. But we can't get carried away and relax. We know they have players who can be very dangerous, especially in midfield and attack, with Raúl [González], Huntelaar and [Jefferson] Farfán for example. We need to play a very serious match not to have any problems.
Óscar de Marcos, Athletic midfielder
It was a very positive result. We were hoping for something like this – a high-scoring victory. The whole dressing room is delighted. They showed they are a very good team and they deserve a lot of respect. They had chances and could have scored another goal, but we took our opportunities and they didn't.
I think the key moment was when we were losing 2-1 and we scored the equaliser. We kicked on from there and did even better. We are not in the semi-finals yet, though, and we have to respect our opponents in the second leg.
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Schalke striker
You want to win at home and to score goals. I think we showed in the first half that we can do that, but in the end we were just a bit unlucky. They opened the scoring and we fought to get back into it – and after that we even managed to take the lead. We wanted more goals at that point, because a 1-0 for them in Bilbao would have been enough, so we tried to score again and they took advantage, playing on the counterattack. I definitely think we could have got a lot more out of this match.
Their equaliser was key, but even more important was the fact that when we were 3-2 behind we kept trying to push forward. I hit the post and if that had gone in then the game would have been different – but it didn't work out. As I said, that last bit of luck was missing. But it also had to do with how we handled things today. It just didn't work out.
Christian Fuchs, Schalke midfielder
I think we opened up too much towards the end. It was too risky, because if the result had been 2-2 or 2-3 then we'd have had more possibilities. But with this result we need three goals. It's not decided yet though. We won't drop our heads, we'll continue believing – there have always been surprises so why not this time?
We created a lot of chances and were unlucky. If Huntelaar hadn't hit the post ... So we created a lot of chances but just couldn't convert them. We also forgot to work against the ball in defence, we were just too open in all parts of the team, and that certainly shouldn't happen.