'Intelligent' Atlético end Hannover's home run

Diego lauded Club Atlético de Madrid for playing "intelligently" to reach the UEFA Europa League semi-finals, while Hannover 96 forward Jan Schlaudraff tried to stay positive in defeat.

'Intelligent' Atlético end Hannover's home run
'Intelligent' Atlético end Hannover's home run ©UEFA.com

Club Atlético de Madrid playmaker Diego said his team were "very happy" to have reached the semi-finals of the UEFA Europa League as the Spanish side brought an end to Hannover 96's unbeaten home record with a 2-1 victory in Germany. Meanwhile, the hosts' midfielder Jan Schlaudraff was left feeling dejected in spite of the club's best European campaign, but was trying to look on the bright side when he spoke to UEFA.com.

Diego, Atlético midfielder
We're very happy. I have another chance to play in a semi-final, which is very important for any player. Today was an important step and I was very happy to help my team. It was very tough. It has been 11 months since [Hannover] lost here and they're a very strong team. To come here and win took a very good performance. We played intelligently and managed to get the result.

I hope we can win the Europa League this year, but it's still too early to be talking about things like that. Of course that's our objective, but we have to get through the semis first. It's going to be a very difficult game against Valencia, but it will be a special night with two Spanish teams.

Thibaut Courtois, Atlético goalkeeper
We defended really well in the first half, but we weren't getting anywhere up front. At half-time the coach said we needed to play differently and we were much better in the second half, scoring two goals. A semi-final is very special for any player because they may only get to play in a handful during their career. Now we're up against Valencia, who are one of the best teams in Spain, so we'll see what happens.

Jan Schlaudraff, Hannover forward
Atlético deserved to go through. We knew that as long as it remained 0-0 we were in with a chance because we're always capable of scoring a goal. We weren't great going forward in the first half, but we were excellent at the back and didn't let anything through. Obviously, we wanted to find a breakthrough, but it was difficult after their goal. After the equaliser we had a very good spell, but they punished a needless loss of possession and that proved decisive.

Our disappointment outweighs our pride at coming this far. That said, if you look at our season as a whole it has been very positive. Now we want to push on and make sure we're involved again next year.

Mohammed Abdellaoue, Hannover forward
Of course it's very disappointing. I thought it was very tight in the first 45 [minutes] and neither side created many chances. We knew that we had to be patient and that one goal could change the whole game. We were still in it until the end, but when they scored it made things very difficult.

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