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Fenerbahçe's Kuyt takes it one game at a time

Friday 22 February 2013 8.50 CET
Fenerbahçe forward Dirk Kuyt

Dirk Kuyt stressed that Fenerbahçe SK will have to "take it round by round" after edging past a dogged FC BATE Borisov team to book a place in the UEFA Europa League round of 16.

Aykut Kocaman's side made heavy going of it at times, despite the visitors playing for 70 minutes with ten men after Dmitri Baga was sent off – ruining their plans according to BATE midfielder Aleksandr Volodko. The unusual atmosphere of an empty Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium and a run of four games in ten days contributed to that lack of intensity, said Kuyt, but he was pleased Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal was among the few in the stands – and insists there is more to come.

Dirk Kuyt, Fenerbahçe forward
I'm happy with the result but we could have made it easier by scoring a second goal. Reaching the next round is the most important thing. We've played four games in ten days, including one with ten men in Belarus, so the result is all that matters. You have to take it round by round. Every next opponent will be harder but I think we have the potential, and I hope we can go a long way. We cannot look too far ahead; first we need to beat the next opponent, then we'll see.

It was very difficult [playing in an empty stadium] because you're a footballer and you want to play for your fans; there's an almost dead atmosphere. It's hard to concentrate because we're not used to this. But I think we did well in the first half. They got a red card, which made it easier. It's a shame that we didn't improve the score because that would have been easier.

Mr Van Gaal was in Istanbul for the last few days. Yesterday he was there for Wesley [Sneijder at Galatasaray AŞ], and now for me. I think it's good that the national coach comes and watches his players, especially his captain and vice-captain. I didn't play any better for him being here – it's just a compliment that the national coach comes and visits, watches a game of yours and discusses it with you. That's always good, I think.

Aleksandr Volodko, BATE midfielder
Obviously it was hard to play after the sending-off. We tried to play on the counterattack. Our aim was to score first – to catch our opponents on the break and score a goal. Then they would have had to open up more and score two without reply. The sending-off ruined our plans.

We needed to get through to the break at 0-0 and get instructions from the coach. But we conceded right before half-time, and though we could have replied during the second half, we didn't manage it. It's hard with only ten men.

We had nothing to lose – we had to score, whatever it took. We created a great chance at the beginning of the second half [through Filipp Rudik], when we might have scored. The draw would have been good enough for us, but it didn't work out.  [The atmosphere] was quite unusual. It felt like a friendly.

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