Esbjerg fB's Emil Lyng felt a 3-1 loss was not necessarily the end of the line for the Danish side, and ACF Fiorentina goalscorers Alessandro Matri and Josip Iličić agreed.
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Esbjerg fB lost 3-1 at home to ACF Fiorentina in the first leg of their UEFA Europa League round of 32 tie, but while coach Niels Frederiksen and captain Hans Henrik Andreasen know the odds are now stacked firmly against the Danish side progressing, midfielder Emil Lyng is not giving up just yet.
Hans Henrik Andreasen, Esbjerg midfielder
We gave away three easy goals. We made some stupid mistakes and that can't happen at this level. It is of course a disadvantage that the Danish league has not started yet after the winter break, and you could see from our performance that we are still not at our best. But we have to give Fiorentina credit: they are exceptional with the ball and played some neat football near the end when we were running on empty.
Our aim was to be organised and to stop them creating chances. They scored a quick goal and we fortunately replied almost immediately. I hoped we could keep it like that, but we made too many mistakes. It is going to be extremely difficult in Florence.
Emil Lyng, Esbjerg midfielder
We gave them three bad goals – three individual errors – and that is why we lost. None of us know the Italian way of playing, but we saw it today. They play fast with a lot of passes, certainly faster than us today, which exhausted us.
Our new boy [Martin] Pušić scored again, so we feel like we can score goals in every game. We believe in ourselves but it did not happen in the second half and unfortunately we lost 3-1. We now have a tough game in Italy, but I think anything can happen. We know there is going to be a big crowd down there, but we have a chance – and if we win 3-0, it is OK for us.
Niels Frederiksen, Esbjerg coach
We were very good with the ball. We created a lot of chances. We should maybe have scored one more, but at the same time we were not sufficiently well organised. We were too easy to score against.
In the second half it seemed they were satisfied with the result, so I think they did not press us as much and it was more difficult for us to create chances because they were better organised. Of course, we could still recover. We have to go down there and just try to win the match and see what happens.
Alessandro Matri, Fiorentina forward
[My opener] was an important goal, not for me but for the team. We prepared well for the game and we studied their style of play. They have a high defensive line and we worked a lot on that. It wasn't a spectacular game but the result is positive for us. However, we have to pay attention ahead of the second leg in Florence.
Josip Iličić, Fiorentina midfielder
We had a good game – it was not easy. We want reach the next round. We know they are a good side because they know how to play. It's not over yet. We need to be careful in the next match. I feel good but I know I can get a lot better. The most important thing is that the team won, not who scored.