"We had to work hard for it," said Denis Suárez after his goal took holders Sevilla FC through from Group G with a 1-0 elimination of a proud HNK Rijeka.
Article top media content
• Denis Suárez's goal took holders Sevilla through from Group G with a 1-0 defeat of Rijeka
• "It's true that it wasn't an easy game, we had to work hard for it," said Suárez
• Beto and Daniel Carriço hope to keep title defence going
• Eliminated Rijeka proud after falling just short
• Round of 32 draw takes place in Nyon at 13.00CET on 15 December
Denis Suárez, Sevilla midfielder
We knew it would be a tough game because Rijeka were really determined to take advantage of what was a great opportunity for them. And it's true that it wasn't an easy game – we had to work hard for it, but we got the three points and qualified in second place. We're in the round of 32, which is what matters.
I'm very pleased about the goal [his first in UEFA club competition]. I needed a goal to boost my confidence and so I'm feeling very happy after this game.
Now the really good stuff starts, the knockout phase, and we're very excited about this Europa League campaign – we'd love to do well. Whoever we're drawn against we'll be aiming to win, particularly at home where we're becoming very strong and have gone a lot of games without losing.
Beto, Sevilla goalkeeper
Mission accomplished. We wanted to finish top of the group, but it wasn't to be. I think we played a good set of games. We put in a very professional display against Rijeka and we've managed to qualify, which was the very least we wanted to achieve. I'm here to try and stop the opposition's shots, but the team did very well both in defence and attack today. We controlled the game very well and though they had three or four chances, I think the result is fair. Sevilla won the game and we're happy about it.
We feel very strong at home [for the round of 32 first leg], in our stadium and in front of our fans. They're our 12th man and they make this a real fortress. We feel confident away from home too, but our home ground has to be our fortress. Whichever team we draw will be strong, such as the teams that drop in from the Champions League. We can't choose who we get, so we just need to study our opponents, respect them and give our very best if we want to continue along a road that for us is very exciting.
Daniel Carriço, Sevilla defender
There was a lot at stake in this game – our continued involvement in the Europa League – and so at the end of the day what mattered was winning. We played with a lot of intensity, the team were very professional and in the end we made it through. They didn't cause us too many problems: we knew they were going to sit back and try and hit us on the break and we knew to keep an eye out for that. We're very happy to have gone through, let's see who we get next.
[On possibly drawing his former club Sporting Clube de Portugal] Maybe we'll get another Portuguese team. Last season we ended up playing three clubs from my country... All the potential opponents are tough, but you might even get a team that's playing well now and then dip later on. It's all about the luck of the draw.
Ivan Močinić, Rijeka midfielder
It was a fair result. In the first half we didn't play very well, but at half-time the coach told us where we were going wrong and for the first 15 minutes of second half we played very well and created three or four good chances that could have changed the game. Over the whole game, though, Sevilla were the better team and deserved to win and to qualify for the next round.
We were a little bit nervous early on, because it's been a long time since we played away against a team as big as Sevilla. They're fourth in the Spanish league I think and they won this competition last season, but I felt we played well against them today.
There are a lot of lessons we can learn from this campaign. We played six very good games and though fortune didn't go our way in some of them, I think the experience we've gained will help us do even better next season.
Moisés, Rijeka forward
Sevilla are a great team – they're the reigning champions and they're particularly strong at home, so this result is as expected and I think it's fair. We couldn't get our game going well in the first period but in the second half we proved we've got the ability to play here in a big game like this. We're sad to have been eliminated and about the way it panned out, but Sevilla deserved to go through.
In the first half Sevilla pressed high and pinned us back, and we couldn't find a way to play our way out of it. But in the second half we kept cooler heads and did what we know how to do – move the ball around at pace and mark tightly – and credit must go to the coach for helping us turn things around.
Now we have to stay on the right track and do well in our league so we can come back stronger in next season's Europa League. We need to learn how to play the same way whether we're at home or away, to learn how to impose our tempo. We couldn't do that in the first half but once we managed it in the second half it was a different game.