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2021 Champions League LEN Events News Water Polo

Champions League, F8 – DAY 2 QUOTES

Semi-finals

FTC-Telekom (HUN) v AN Brescia (ITA) 14-12

Zsolt Varga, coach, Ferencvaros – “I can say that we’ve played the toughest game of the season if not the toughest ever in the Champions League. Brescia is an amazing team, it really had everything in hand for the season, a true favourite for the title, which they had proved by beating Recco in the Italian final. We lost them twice in the prelims but we were never complete in those games – that was one of the main differences that we had everyone on board for this match. We also had to deal with their extremely challenging playing style, their drives, their aggressive attacking approach are pretty hard to handle but we could withstand the pressure for most of the time, however, they still scored 12 goals which showed their quality. We had a great start but leading 4-0 after a period may mean nothing as you concede two and the game is open again, what just happened here. I think it was all about our outstanding self-discipline, playing tough when it was needed and the ability to stay composed even in the most tense moments – that gave us this fantastic win.”

Alessandro Bovo, coach, Brescia – “We started badly but soon we came back and started to play our game. We made mistakes in defence but we did our best in the offence. Ferencvaros also played great, little things decided the result. I feel sorry to my players as they really did their best today.”

Denes Varga, captain, Ferencvaros – “I think this is one our most valuable wins we ever claimed as it came against an extremely strong team in a match where the stakes were really high. It was a huge fight, very physical, very tactical as usual against an Italian team. They never step out of their strict frames of their game plan so it’s a big task to break this composure. With two defeats from Budapest, it’s also a mental challenge  for any team to beat the same rival three times in a row, that’s one thing if we consider the two games we played in the prelims. Now our dynamics were different and also our motivation since after the disappointment in our home championship, this is the last chance for a couple of guys who play their last matches for this team to bid a worthy farewell. I think that was also a factor in this victory.”

Nikola Jaksic, player, Ferencvaros – “It was a great match, very tough. They are an excellent team who managed to dethrone Recco in Italy after 14 years. This is their best roster so far in my opinion. We really gave our best tonight. There was a lot of goals on both sides. I think we must improve our defence but all in all I am very satisfied. I hope we can surprise Recco tomorrow and win the trophy.”

Maro Jokovic, player, Brescia – “I think we fought well today. We conceded too many easy goals at the beginning from 6 on 6 plus 3 penalties. I think we were fine physically but lacked conclusion in the attack. The last two calls by the referees were questionable but we can’t use that as an excuse. I think we showed really good resistance today. Playing the semi-final of the Champions League is a historical success for Brescia. I think we as a team did a really great job altogether. I feel sorry we didn’t use the chances we had today. This will probably be the last match of this particular team so it would be nice to close this story with a medal.”

Pro Recco (ITA) v Zodiac Atletic Barceloneta (ESP) 12-10

Gabi Hernandez, coach, Recco – “The team came to this match with a lot of ambitions and played really well, with the right way, with self-discipline and a good approach. Our defence was really good, especially in the second half and that was the key for our win.”

Chus Martin, coach, Barceloneta – “I’m proud of my team, they were giving their best today but Recco won the game and we have to congratulate them. We had a very good first half, but it was hard to play against their really aggressive defence in the second. This is Recco, we know this, they always play on the limit of exclusions and it’s really hard to stay calm under such pressure. For me, water polo means something different but this is sport, we have to accept the result and prepare for the bronze medal match.”

Aaron Younger, player, Recco – “It was a good match, I think we played the best game of the whole season. After the disappointing end of the National Championships in Italy, this tournament was very important for us. After that defeat we got together and talked how to change our mentality in order to be able to win these matches. This is what we have showed today. We played all four quarters to the full and with the right mentality. Tomorrow will be another tough game, we have to be strong, play good and whoever plays, the better will win.”

Blai Mallarach, player, Barceloneta – “It was a difficult match. We had a good start and were up by two goals. Later we failed to close the match and use our chances. Recco is a very strong team and they didn’t let us get back into our fast rhythm and play. They succeeded in slowing down our game. Tomorrow’s bronze match is never easy to play after you have lost the semi-final but we will see who comes. We beat Brescia twice this season and lost as many times to FTC so maybe Brescia would be better but we’ll have to wait and see.”

For places 5-8th

CN Marseille (FRA) v Jug Adriatic Osiguranje Dubrovnik (CRO) 13-16

Milos Scepanovic, coach, Marseille – “It a bit unusual from our team to concede 16 goals, we usually do much better in defence. But Jug played well, they did that they probably know the best in Europe, launched great counters and we couldn’t handle that as we couldn’t keep the ball in certain situations. We started well, we had a missed penalty. I wouldn’t say that if we had led 6-3 it would have been a different match and it wasn’t just the penalty but rather the goals we got after it, those came fast and we couldn’t respond. Still, I would say we have nothing to regret, we are here, played a great game against Jug, we scored goals, we were in the match, I’m proud of the team.”

Andrija Prlainovic , player, Marseille – “I have nothing much to say. Today Jug was a little bit better and deserved to win. We wanted to win but… I think that this kind of placement games should not be played at the end of season at the Final8. I don’t see any sense in them.”

Vjekoslav Kobescak, coach, Jug – “I think it was a good response from the team to play a match like this against a very good team as Marseille improved a lot in this season. The players found the necessary energy to win this match. I would still say we don’t have the necessary stamina to be on equal terms with the best teams but today we did enough. I didn’t have to tell anything to the players, we didn’t even have a meeting to talk about the quarter-finals or to boost their motivation. What they did today was solely their merit, it was their win, not mine.”

Xavi Garcia, captain, Jug “It is really y difficult to play once you lose in the quarter-finals. Everyone comes here with a goal to fight for the trophy and once you lose the chance to achieve that it is hard. There is very little time to clear your head and reset your mindset. I think it was a nice match to watch with a lot of intensity and rhythm. There was a lot of goals too though the coaches are never happy about that. Both teams swam a lot, it was fantastic I ‘d say. We were down 5-3 then went up to 7-5, 8-5. At the end they came up to –1. All in all it was an eventful match. I must congratulate my team. I know it wasn’t easy after yesterday’s defeat. Here we have top eight teams in the world which all came to fight for the Champions League title with bigger or smaller chances. Once you lose all your chance I don’t see the need to go on playing. This is not a Championship. With three matches in as many days you only risk an injury at the end of season and just as most of us are about to go on to our national teams. Year after year we seem to be playing more and more matches and we don’t get enough time to rest and recover. The next year will be even worse in that sense.”

Waspo 98 Hannover (GER) v Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE) 10-8

Karsten Seehafer, coach, Hannover – “It’s the biggest success this club has ever achieved on European stage. We are here to prove that we have a strong team, we are not the last ranked team and you have to play serious water polo against us. We played really well for three periods, we showed quality, we proved that we are rightfully here. And this is just another step for this team, we want to improve further on to play games like this against each rival. These games are not easy for the teams having lost in the quarter-finals but we reacted well and we deserved this big win.”

Theodoros Vlachos, coach, Olympiacos – “It wasn’t a question of the relatively shorter recovery time. Last night we had to think over what happened to us and then came back here with a desire to win. It didn’t happen, in the first half especially our offence lack everything what’s needed to win water polo matches. There was no composure, no discipline. Then from the middle of the third and especially in the fourth we showed some desire, some will, that we really want to win this match but that was too late. You can see we are not in a good mood here, but this is the Final Eight and you have to be ready mentally, if you are not, this is the end. Now we will have more time to think of what we have to do in order to win at least the last match here.”

Aleksandar Radovic, captain, Hannover – “At the beginning of the season our goal was to qualify for the Final8 but after winning the national championship and the Super Cup we got an extra boost of self-confidence and decided to really give all here and try to compete with the top teams. We were resolved not to just settle with the 8th place here. We really gave our best yesterday against Recco too but it just wasn’t enough. We are very happy with this win and will try to repeat it tomorrow.”

Konstantinos Genidounias, player, Olympiacos – “We started the game badly, we were behind from the beginning. We did catch up and regained our rhythm towards the end but it was too little, too late. We had some opportunities but we didn’t use them and we could not reach a tie at least. Tomorrow we have one more game which in my opinion should not be played 50 days before the Olympics.”

Maxwell Bruce Irving, player, Olympiacos – “Tomorrow we have one more game. We want to finish on a good note. We know we can play better than this. To win any game here you have to be focused and prepared, show a team game. There are no bad teams here. You simply have to bring your A game in order to win.”