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Stuttgart pair focus on the positives

Forward Martin Harnik admitted VfB Stuttgart "didn't exactly cover themselves in glory" as they stumbled into the UEFA Europa League knockout stages despite defeat by Molde FK.

Stuttgart pair focus on the positives
Stuttgart pair focus on the positives ©UEFA.com

Martin Harnik admitted VfB Stuttgart "didn't exactly cover themselves in glory" in a 1-0 home defeat by Molde FK, even if it was enough to advance to the UEFA Europa League knockout stages. A "bitter" Sven Ulreich felt that overall the Bundesliga side deserved to finish in the top two in Group E. The scorer of the only goal of the night, Davy Claude Angan, is already setting sights on gracing the UEFA Champions League next term.

Martin Harnik, Stuttgart forward
We didn't exactly cover ourselves in glory with a 1-0 defeat to Molde, but the bottom line is we got through. The ball just wouldn't go in, but you get that sort of game sometimes. We're just happy that we did enough in the end.

We ought to have won the group really. That was our target, but sadly we didn't manage it. That said, we've played a lot of games with a very small squad and done the best with what we have. We're not hoping to draw anyone in particular in the next round, but personally I'd like to play against an English team.

Sven Ulreich, Stuttgart goalkeeper
It was bitter to lose 1-0 – the second time we've lost to Molde this season. Of course that's a pity and tempers our joy somewhat, but the important thing is that we got through. That was our aim. We didn't start well in the Europa League but went on to play really well twice away from home. Unfortunately we've lost another game at home, but overall I think we deserved to qualify. If you perform as we did in Bucharest and Copenhagen, you've earned your place in the next round.

We'll take whichever opponent we're given. We need to concentrate on our own game and perform well to progress. It's nice to think that we could get a big club in the next round, though.

Davy Claude Angan, Molde forward
I thought we played pretty well considering we haven't played a league match for two weeks. Our domestic campaign has already finished, so to come here and play against a team as good as Stuttgart, I thought we did well.

The coach said we should attack with pace, but it's like that every time we play. He told us that Stuttgart would want to win in front of their own fans so they'd be pushing forward, so if we got the ball we should go for it on the counterattack. The other players tried to look for me each time and get the ball up to me.

It's the first time Molde have been in the Europa League for a long time, so we've gained a lot of experience. Next year we'll enter the qualification rounds for the Champions League. Myself and all the Molde players want to play in the Champions League next year.

Magne Simonsen, Molde defender
I think it was a good performance; our team spirit was especially good. Our goalkeeper was fantastic today, he saved us. Overall we had a good match and could have scored a few goals, but so could they, so we're pretty satisfied.

We've got two very strong, fast strikers. They score goals, too, and that's what won the game for us, along with the goalkeeper. Europe is a great arena to perform in and we're looking forward to next year and hopefully qualification for the Champions League. This was a great experience for us to take forward into next year.

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