Fenerbahçe SK's Bekir Irtegün and Dirk Kuyt were relieved to get past FC Viktoria Plzeň and praised the tenacious visitors, whose goalscorer Vladimír Darida kept his head held high.
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There was relief for Fenerbahçe SK duo Bekir Irtegün and Dirk Kuyt after a 1-1 draw against FC Viktoria Plzeň in Istanbul took them into the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals 2-1 on aggregate. They also praised the Czech side's determination while visiting goalscorer Vladimír Darida kept his head held high.
Dirk Kuyt, Fenerbahçe forward
In games like this, there is only one thing that is important and that is going through. Plzeň played a solid game and you have to give their players a lot of credit for not letting the team down.
From now on we know we'll face increasingly more difficult opponents. If it was up to me, I'd like to play against an English team. I hear three English teams qualified, so there's a fair chance we'll meet one of them. I know this year's final takes place in Amsterdam, which to me as a Dutchman obviously is an extra motivation, but we are not there yet. Let's take the next games step by step.
Bekir Irtegün, Fenerbahçe defender
It was a hard-fought draw for us and I want to congratulate Viktoria for giving us a hard time. It was really important for us to open the scoring. When we did, however, they never let go and that is quite an achievement. Honestly, I haven't looked at the other teams that have qualified yet. Let's first enjoy the moment. I'm not really worried about which side we might get in the quarter-finals. I know at this level that every club in the draw deserves to be there and is a good team.
Vladimír Darida, Plzeň forward
We didn't lose the tie in this game. We gave it away at home last week. Today we played a much better game, but unfortunately that didn't prove to be enough. But we did all we could, so we can go home with a proud feeling. It is also proof that we kept believing in ourselves until the very last minute. Looking back on the tournament, we can be satisfied. We have learned a lot, both individually and as a team. We'll capitalise on that in the future, for sure.