Champions League: Wednesday's pre-match statements


FC Bayern München v. FC Salzburg

- Hansi Flick, Bayern coach: "Salzburg can be very uncomfortable to play against. They know how to put pressure on an opponent. They can deliver very quick attacks and cause big problems for the opponent. Before they did that against us, they also showed it against Atlético or against Liverpool last season, for example. They are certainly capable of being competitive in the Champions League.

"Usually it is up to us to take control of the match. If we are able to do it, then great. If not – if the opponent puts us under pressure looking to cut off our attacks – we know what we have to do. We have enough respect for Salzburg and are prepared. The decisive factor for us is that everyone on the pitch acts as a servant to the team.

"I am satisfied with our daily training routines. If you see them in person, you know it is the way you need to take to play successful football. We are happy that we can give playing time to young and talented players. It is possible we will see a few more in the near future. They have seen that we are willing to give them the chance to play."

- Leon Goretzka, Bayern midfielder: "We are aiming for more control of the match [than we had in the reverse fixture]. It is obvious that we are missing the qualities of Joshua [Kimmich], but we can cope without him. We have discussed at length what is demanded from the various positions [in midfield]. Our run in the Champions League spanning two seasons is really strong. Hopefully we can continue it."

- Jesse Marsch, Salzburg coach: "It is a great game for us, against a top opponent, in a great stadium. We are looking forward to this game. It is important that we deliver our best performance.

"In the first leg we saw that we can play at this level. We have to play more compact and more disciplined. The Bayern squad is great, they have a lot of quality. But our whole team believes in our chance."

Club Atlético de Madrid v. Lokomotiv Moskva

- Diego Simeone, Atlético coach: "Knowing the Champions League and the players that we have, who have been competing for many years in this competition, we know this competition doesn’t wait for you. It’s an important game, against a tactically astute rival, who have a good counterattack, and we’ll need to be aware in order to attack ourselves and hurt them. We did it well in Moscow but we couldn’t finish it off, and this time round it’ll be really tough. They won’t give us an inch." 

Marko Nikolić, Lokomotiv Moskva manager: "We did not play at our best or super well in Moscow. We played much better against Bayern. With Atlético it was not a bad result. If we played 20, 30 or 50 per cent better than our game in Moscow we can win and come out with a good result.

"If you think about drawing, you're going to lose for sure. We believe in victory. It (the last game) was very difficult. We know them better from the match in Moscow. We need tactical discipline. We cannot afford to switch off for one second of the match. Atlético have a lot of quality. For years they have played at a very high level."

Vladislav Ignatyev, Lokomotiv Moskva defender: "Points against Atlético always cost a lot. In the previous game we did not do it well enough. The best result for us here is to get some point."


FC Internazionale Milano v. Real Madrid CF

- Antonio Conte, Inter coach: "Last term we often started games with the right attitude. We increased our ball possession this season compared to the previous one, but at the same time we allow our opponents to create too many chances. As I said before, if we want to be competitive we have to raise the bar at all levels."

- Zinedine Zidane, Real Madrid coach: "Against Inter, I don’t think we were up and down. There were tough moments in the game, but that’s normal when you’re up against a top side. We started and finished the game well. I’m not a fatalist - this is football and these things can happen.

"We are working to improve both in terms of the defence and scoring goals. There’s times in football when you’re stronger and there’s also some times when things are tougher. That’s perhaps what’s happening right now. But not only us."

- Zidane talking about the four years since winning the Champions League at the San Siro: "It’s been four years of learning. I’ve not changed who I am. I continue to love coaching and that’s the most important thing for me."

- Casemiro, Real Madrid midfielder: “Inter have great players of amazing quality. But I would say mentally we were very strong, focused on the goal, on the win. And then Rodrigo confirmed that with a goal. But I would say the mental work and the focus we kept throughout the game were very important."

Borussia Mönchengladbach v. FK Shakhtar Donetsk

- Marco Rose, Gladbach coach: "The first match won't help us. We have put that 6-0 behind us. Shakhtar will show a different attitude and they will try to win here. They have huge qualities and all the things we spoke about before the first leg are still valid. A match like they had against us at home can happen now and again.

"We are in good form and know we can steer things in our direction. Three matches have been played – no more and no less. The match against Shakhtar remains important. We cannot get distracted. The focus needs to be on the performance and in the Champions League you need a top performance, no matter which opponent you have."

- Lars Stindl, Gladbach forward: "We are aware of the position we have worked hard to get to. Now we will try to create something special. We don't need any additional motivational speeches. Within the team there is a feeling that we can deliver something special in the next few weeks. I am convinced that we can add more points in all of the return matches."

- Luis Castro, Shakhtar coach: "It hurts after being beaten 6-0 against Monchengladbach in the first match. It hurts, and you do not forget such things easily. But it will not affect tomorrow's game. We analysed what happened and learned our lesson. We did not press and made no efforts to get to their goal. We have to be better at this tomorrow.

"Although we are coming through a rough patch, we have to try and perform to our best. If we do well, I will not be happy with a draw, but if a draw is a fair result, I will accept that. A draw against a side like Monchengladbach is no bad thing but we will do everything to win. We are in a very tough group. To make it to the round of 16 we will need to beat Inter or Real Madrid."

- Taras Stepanenko, Shakhtar midfielder: "It is difficult to predict anything in a group like this. It's a very tough section with no teams that are obviously inferior. The standard is high and it is impossible to tell how every match will go. We just have to focus on winning."


Olympiacos FC v. Manchester City FC 

- Pedro Martins, Olympiacos coach: "We still have hopes and we continue to believe we can qualify. We will start the qualifying effort again and look to deprive City of possession. We have things in our favour because we are at home, and we are always stronger here. To qualify we will need a minimum of two wins in the remaining matches.

"We have absences, but we have options and good players, and we want to repeat what we did in the second half at City. I do not think many teams have done that. We want to play with soul, with courage and make a game of it. City will always be title contenders, but we have quality. We have coped with difficult games and that is what we intend to do: continue to fight."

- Rúben Semedo, Olympiacos defender: “The key to the fight is our concentration and confidence. We all know that we are up against one of the best teams in the world. They like to have possession, and when they are not as happy when they don’t have the ball. That’s what happened in the second half in England. We will try to do that tomorrow as well.”

- Josep Guardiola, Man. City coach: "[This game] is important for our qualification and also to recover our feelings. To be able to win games is important. We can leave this competition until February and focus on other competitions, especially the Premier League. At the same time we know how difficult it is and if we are able to get results we travel to Porto and then have Marseille here. One step at a time but at the same time to recover, to come back and create good feelings.

"I have full respect for Olympiacos. I know they have struggled as we did at the beginning of the season with injuries but they remain a team built to win every game and even though they have some injuries and struggle, I have all the respect and I am more concerned about what we have to do as a team to try to win another game."

- Ferrán Torres, Man. City forward: "Obviously we have had a few injuries of our strikers, but we are scoring goals as a team - probably not as many as we would like. We are also facing difficult opponents so it is difficult but we are working and we are confident that we can sort that out."

Olympique Marseille v. FC Porto

- André Villas-Boas, Marseille coach: "Porto are here with the same team they had for the first leg. We do too, more or less. We'll have to beat them on desire. We'll have to better them on shifting from defence to attack. We worked on that tactically. We also worked on finishing moves because we got the more than them in the first leg."

- Florian Thauvin, Marseille forward: "We have to give a good account of ourselves, and take pride. It's hard when you are a competitor to take a series of defeats. We have to learn from our mistakes. We need to do much better in the way we approach games. We cannot accept another defeat."

- Sérgio Conceição, Porto coach: "The result of this game could be extremely important. We are always looking for perfection in every match. There are many things that we have to work on to be more consistent and to be closer to winning. It will be very difficult, I would say impossible, for [Pepe] to be available for the game. He will travel with us but he is not available to play."

"Nothing is decided yet. In this group, every team can win and lose. Even Manchester City are not unbeatable. We have to start the game [against Marseille] strongly but we have to be careful and prepare for different scenarios. I expected to have nine points, but I know that we are in a good position to reach the last 16."


Liverpool FC v. Atalanta BC

- Jürgen Klopp, Liverpool manager: "[Atalanta] are a threat [even] without a point to prove. We were exceptional [in Italy]. We did everything right. It all came together. We know that game has nothing to do with tomorrow. They're a top team with a special way to play. I expect problems in this game.

"There are so many games to play and we will try to be as spot on as we can in specific games. Different line-ups but we cannot change that. It's not all worked on the pitch because the schedule doesn't give us that time."

- Joël Matip, Liverpool defender: “[Atalanta] will attack; they are a threat for any team in Europe. We have to prepare and we cannot compare [this game to the one] in Italy. A new game where we start from first second. Otherwise they will cause us problems. A really tough night."

- Gian Piero Gasperini, Atalanta coach: “It will be a very difficult match against Liverpool, we will meet a great side. They are doing extraordinary things. Right now it is a great achievement for us being able to play in the Champions League. Facing Liverpool is an achievement regardless of the result, but we would like to give a good performance."

AFC Ajax v. FC Midtjylland

- Erik ten Hag, Ajax coach: "[Davy] Klaasen will not be training this afternoon, but I hope and expect that he will be available. He has not recovered well enough to train, but we expect the recovery to be good enough on Wednesday. If he can run, he will play. [Noussair] Mazraoui is going to train, we have to wait and see, but the expectation is that he will be available."

- Ten Hag on Ajax’s form away from home: "Of course we have exceptional statistics in away games, but we are not bad at home. We also achieved results at home, but we have not had the easiest opponents either. The facts don't lie, but above all, we shouldn't let ourselves be told that we are not strong at home. Maybe we should show more patience at home - opponents give away less space here."

- Brian Priske, Midtjylland head coach: "It requires a great performance from us. Over 90 minutes, we have to be really close, tough in the duels and compact, regardless of whether we push hard in attack or are defending ourselves.

"We have of course evaluated the match against Ajax - like all other matches - so we are prepared. These players have been good at adapting to what is required of them. When they go on the field tomorrow, it is a Midtjylland team that knows what it's all about from start to finish."

"Of course we will have some points. Overall, we are up against some tough opponents in a tough group. We knew very well that it would be difficult to get points. As newcomers to the Champions League, it requires some adjustment, but I believe that we have the qualities to take home points."

- Eric Sviatchenko, Midtjylland captain: "Confidence is quite high. We are at the right level, we have opportunities ahead of us. Our physicality can be a weapon, both in defence and attack."

Source: UEFA 

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