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'Brilliant' Levante make Martínez proud

Friday 22 February 2013 8.32 CET
Obafemi Martins (No24) scores the goal

Levante UD coach Juan Ignacio Martínez praised his team for "playing two brilliant legs" after a 1-0 win at Olympiacos FC earned them a 4-0 aggregate triumph and UEFA Europa League round of 16 date with FC Rubin Kazan. Míchel conceded that the visitors "were better in both legs and deservedly went through".

Juan Ignacio Martínez, Levante coach
We deserved to go through. It's not that Olympiacos underperformed – it's what we deserve for playing two brilliant legs. Tonight we managed to strangle Olympiacos's attacking play, especially on the wings, and forced Míchel to change tactics. We were lucky to score early in both encounters. Especially tonight, the early goal subdued the fans and our opponents became more nervous.

I am extremely proud of all that Levante have achieved this season. It's proof that we have a very competitive squad. Everybody in Valencia should be proud of this team. Rubin Kazan are difficult opponents for us. They already eliminated Atlético Madrid, they have great players and we will also have to deal with the weather conditions in Russia.

Rubén García, Levante midfielder
I am very proud of what the team have achieved. We kept a clean sheet in both matches and achieved a historic qualification. We are a very tight-knit group of players with strong motivation. I played in a different position tonight, but for me it is always important to show that I can perform wherever my coach wants me to, and make the most of the opportunities I get through hard work.

We celebrated in the dressing rooms with lots of noise and music, as always. Our aim has not changed. We want to continue our European adventure and enjoy ourselves in the process.

Míchel, Olympiacos coach
We played badly. Their early goal only made us more nervous and we could not find our feet in the first half. We could not play as we wanted to, because Levante have a great defensive organisation. It's not that my players did not want to be more assertive in attack – they could not be.

Today we repeated some of our mistakes from the first leg and qualification became impossible to achieve. Levante were better than us in both legs and deservedly went through. We must work on our errors. In European competition, when a team lacks discipline, focus and intensity, they are made to pay. This will serve as a lesson for the future.

Pablo Contreras, Olympiacios defender
Unfortunately we were not up to the task. We are sad, because we should have repaid our fans for their support with an improved performance compared to last week in Valencia. Once again we failed to realise our potential. We made mistakes we shouldn't have. We did not play at the required level and did not stick to the plan. We failed to produce any real chances to score here or in Valencia.

It is very difficult right now to say that we have learned something from this experience. It's up to the coach to draw conclusions and adjust his plans. The fans are right to voice their disapproval when we perform as we did tonight. They should know, however, that everybody in the squad is very sad for the way things unfolded tonight.

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