Ibai Gómez says joy at scoring his first goal for Athletic Club to help oust FC Schalke 04 will not temper the work he will put in ahead of the semi-final against Sporting Clube de Portugal.
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Athletic Club forward Ibai Gómez told UEFA.com that although he was delighted to have scored a spectacular first senior goal in the quarter-final second leg against FC Schalke 04, he will continue to work hard ahead of a last-four encounter with Sporting Clube de Portugal. Raúl González, meanwhile, offered praise to his native Spain for producing five semi-finalists in UEFA club competition this season.
Ibai Gómez, Athletic forward
I'm delighted to have scored my first senior goal in Athletic colours. We knew that a very good team were coming to town and that we were in for a difficult game. We tried to maintain our shape and to stick to our style. We were facing strong opponents who played very well on the night, but we also played at a high level.
We worked hard for this success, to go as far as possible. We are in the semi-finals now but we must keep working hard. We know that it's going to be very hard against Sporting but we will give it our all and we are all very eager to reach the final. Our team always responds to a challenge and tiredness is not a factor.
Markel Susaeta, Athletic forward
The game was a bit of an uphill struggle for us from the beginning but we drew courage from somewhere and we are all thrilled to be in the semis. [Coach] Marcelo Bielsa wants us to go out and try to win every game this season – that is our mentality.
Today we weren't at our best. Schalke played a different system to what we were expecting, but we responded well and at 2-2 had chances to go on and win the match. Raúl played brilliantly tonight and it wasn't just because of his great goal. He has a lot of football left in him. I don't know very much about our next opponents, Sporting. From next week we will start to study them.
Andoni Iraola, Athletic defender
Schalke are a very good team. They have tremendous potential going forward with strikers who can score out of nothing. It cost us a lot to get a result today but it is also good that the team gets used to enduring difficult moments while knowing that we can turn games around.
Our intention was to attack more than they did but they played a good game and they made things very hard for us. They went out to take risks and came at us with a lot of forward-minded players. We had some chances on the counter, which unfortunately we couldn't convert. We have faced very difficult opponents on the way to the last four. Now we are up against Sporting, who have had a great tournament. They have good players like Diego Capel, Matias Fernández and Jeffrén, who have all played in our Liga.
Raúl González, Schalke forward
The tie squirmed out of our grasp in the closing stages in Germany. Coming here 4-2 down was a bit too much. Having said that, we didn't make things easy for them tonight; we sought goals and played a decent game. Athletic Club took advantage of their chances. I scored a really nice goal but I would have preferred to go through than to have scored, to be honest.
I would like to offer thanks for the affection I received from the fans here. I felt at home and was very happy to play at the San Mamés again. The fact that there are five Spanish teams still in UEFA club competition speaks volumes for football in this country. Here's hoping that we see two all-Spanish finals in both tournaments
Lewis Holtby, Schalke midfielder
It was quite an intense game played in a really good atmosphere. We played well and created a lot of chances, but so did Athletic Club. For us, the tie was lost in the first leg. It was difficult to score four goals but we had the chances to do so.
Our coach told us we had to have a lot of confidence and to look to score. He told us that although it wasn't going to be easy, we should try to have fun and to try our best. We now want to maintain third place in the Bundesliga. Our goal is to play in the Champions League next season, which would be awesome.