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Schalke a tough nut to crack, says Riera

FC Barcelona captain Roger Riera acknowledged just how tough a test his side had passed in overcoming FC Schalke 04, while Pascal Itter had mixed emotions.

Roger Riera was relieved as Barcelona squeezed through to the final
Roger Riera was relieved as Barcelona squeezed through to the final ©UEFA.com

FC Barcelona had been in free-scoring spirit all season but found FC Schalke 04 a tougher nut to crack, a point acknowledged by captain Roger Riera after the Blaugrana squeezed through to the UEFA Youth League final. It was just Munir El Haddadi's 72nd-minute goal that separated the sides and Riera's opposite number, Schalke skipper Pascal Itter, said he had pride in his team's performance, even if the result left them all "disappointed".

Roger Riera, Barcelona captain
It was a very hard game against very difficult opponents: very organised, very hard-working. They gave everything on the pitch, and the truth is, right now without time to analyse it all, I'm very happy.

You have to be thankful to UEFA for giving us the opportunity to play in this great competition. It's a great experience for all of us, and on top of that to reach the final here in Nyon, it makes our experience even better. It's a fantastic competition that everybody loves playing in and that is exciting for everybody, and we're exactly where we wanted to be.

It measures you against the great forces of football in Europe. You can see the level there is in Europe, the extremely high level, and every game we are really pushed to win, to play our game … and yes, the experience has made me very happy.

On a personal level I have learnt so much, I have learnt from some fantastic strikers, great ones who played very well. We have played with players who are really complete and who have helped me grow as a footballer.

Pascal Itter, Schalke captain
Of course, we're disappointed because we lost the match so late in the game, but of course we are also very proud that we worked hard as a team and were able to show our strength.

We came a long way here and we got better, as you could see today. [We have played] against totally different philosophies and opponents that you don't face very often but those that are the best in Europe and the world, so it's a great thing for young players.

It was very nice [to train alongside the first team] and we always set the standard by playing first and then they did the same, and also managed to qualify from the group stage. We are happy and proud to have represented Schalke this way and we can leave with our heads held high.