Champions League, Final Eight, Day 1- FLASH QUOTES

14.30, Quarter-final: AN Brescia v Waspo 98 Hannover 12-5

Alessandro Bovo, coach, Brescia

“I think during the whole game we played very well in defence, that was the key today. We had many exclusions but we played our man-down well, we have good energy, good pace, controlled the game so I’m very satisfied with our performance.”

Christian Presciutti, captain, Brescia

“We went into the match strongly and concentrated, knowing fully well that is the only right way for us. They are a really strong team with excellent players. We know what we want at this F8 and it was important for us to get into our rhythm. Now we must recuperate, get our energy back and keep going for the semi-final.”

Boris, Vapnenski, player, Brescia

“We started off with determination. For us, this is the only way if we want to win no matter who we’re playing against. It was also important for us to get our rhythm. The 1st match is always the hardest. I think we managed to save enough energy for tomorrow. I was already asked who would we prefer but all I can say that of course it’s always more difficult playing against the home team. Having said that I come from Belgrade and wish them well too.”

Karsten Seehafer, coach, Hannover

“Our offence was down during the whole game, we were missing our man-ups in succession. Brescia played well, aggressively, they kept us under pressure during the whole game at each position, almost everywhere in the pool and we had to even fight to have fouls. They were the better team, no doubt, so I congratulate them.”

Marko Macan, player, Hannover

“I am angry at myself first and foremost. Brescia fully deserved today’s win. They are a top team. They started off strongly, I mean just days ago they were playing the final series against Recco in Italy. For us, to be able to beat a team like that, we need to be at our 120% and today we were far from it. We are all to blame for missing this opportunity. Last year we were 6th so we must keep our head up and try to make a step further no matrer who comes. We’ve been together for almost two years now and it’s a shame that we couldn’t capitalise on that better today.”

Matija Brguljan, player, Hannover

“I am not satisfied with myself or the team in general. Brescia played a fair game and fully deserved to win. They were better today. I really thought that we could be competetive but we simply didn”t deserve to win today. I think we didn’t play nor prepared for this match in the best way.”

16.30, Quarter-final: Recco v Barceloneta 11-10

Sandro Sukno, coach, Recco

“We faced a very good team, Barceloneta played an excellent game, both teams could have won it but at the end we did that and that what counts in games like this. I think the first period was a bit strange, there were too many goals, defences did not find the right rhythm, but then everything was settling, and the real match began. We did not play that well, for sure, but we never stopped fighting, going ahead. You know, it’s not easy to be part of Pro Recco, you come here, everywhere you hear, Recco, Recco, Recco, the other seven teams don’t have that pressure, but we really showed that we are a TEAM, played like a team and this brought us to the semi-final, and I hope we won’t stop there.”

Francesco di Fulvio, player, Recco

“It was a really tough match. We knew it would be like that. When Munarriz came back, their game improved a lot. We never lost the nerve during the match, no matter if we were up or down in that moment, we maintained our focus. I think this is the most beautiful F8 in last couple of years. You have four-five teams all ready to seize the trophy. I don’t care who comes next. We must concentrate on our own game.”

Elvis Fatovic, coach, Barceloneta

“We had our chances to win this game, but we missed them. I don’t know the stats but our man-up was too bad, we missed a lot, especially when we had very important ones. Sometimes we scored easily, then we missed two or three at 10-10. That was a combination of our mistakes and Recco’s great defending. It was great to qualify, we wanted more and we were close to achieve that but what can I say, Recco deserved to win this match at the end.”

Felipe Perrone, captain, Barceloneta

“It was the little details that ultimately decided the match. They played the second half better than we did. Both teams displayed fantastic tactics. Now we have two more games and we must play them the right way. Then shortly the Worlds are starting, it us a very busy summer for water polo.”

Albert Munarriz, player, Barceloneta

“It was a very tough match. We had a man-up plus a time-out towards the end and didn’t score, they made their man-up about a minute and a half before the end and that was it. It was the little details that proved to be decisive. It was a very good match to watch and a real festival of the beauty of our sport. We have two more matches, we need to recover and prepare for them. It is important to finish the season in a positive way.”

18.30, Quarter-final: Marseille v Novi Beograd 10-16

Milos Scepanovic, coach, Marseille

“Well, this is not the prelims, a much higher level where you need to bring your best. Today we couldn’t do that, but I don’t want to look dissatisfied. Of course, I am a bit, and I don’t want to look for excuses either, still, we missed a key player from our rotation and that required extra efforts from the other players, and they got exhausted after a while. This is no way to belittle the value of Novi Beograd’s performance, they played really well and deserved to go to the semi-finals.”

Uros Cuckovic, player, Marseille

“It seems we haven’t learned the lesson from last year. Personally, I am not satisfied with my performance. I didn’t play the way I wanted and how I played during the season. We worked really well, had a good season but something seems to be missing. That’s what I can say still hot-headed right after the match. We have two more games. I’ll tell you, they are not easy to play but we will find the strength we need to finish the season properly.”

Igor Milanovic, coach, Novi Beograd

“Yes, I’m constantly trying to keep all pressure off the players and bear it on my shoulders and I think it’s been working so far. Today the team was amazing, the boys were in the mood especially in attack, which required a bit of sacrifice in defence but on days like this you just let them do what the know the best and they really enjoyed themselves in the offence. I’m really happy that we are in the semi-final, while I also wish to congratulate to Marseille and my colleague Milos Scepanovic as they had a great season. We know that it’s only going to get harder but this our life! There is a good atmosphere inside the team, I think we are ready to play the next game.”

Dusan Mandic, captain, Novi Beograd

“We entered the match really focused. We knew we had to be concentrated in order to win, especially because it was our first quarter-final at the F8. We absolutely did not underestimate them at any moment. They are a very serious team. Our defence worked well too. Now we just need to continue like this. Brescia, our next opponent, is a top team. The road to the Champions League trophy is still long and there are still matches to be played.”

Angelos Vlachopoulos, player, Novi Beograd

“The game was tough at the beginning. Soon we got into our rhythm and did well in attack in some critical moments of the match when it was important to score. Also our goalie had a great day. Next is Brescia. They are a good team with a good coach, I should know… (note: played in Brescia last season) They are well prepared, we know them well but tomorrow will be a completely different match compared to the ones played during the season.”

20.30, Quarter-final, FTC v Jug 14-13

Zsolt Varga, coach, FTC

“We got going at the beginning and played really well, but then became more and more nervous because of the lot of exclusions. I was forced to take out Denes Varga and Marton Vamos who both got two personal fouls early on, and at the same time, after an amazing opening, our focus switched from the game plan to try to figure out how to avoid more exclusions. At the same time, congratulations for Jug and my ‘brother’ Vjeko Kobescak as they did really well, played their usual, physical, well-planned game almost perfectly for a while and caused a lot of trouble for us. As we approached the final phase, it was all about calming down – I tried to set an example but of course, when you have Denes Varga, it’s much easier because it was his two goals which really cooled down the team and then we had the necessary focus to close out the match.”

Nemanja Ubovic, player, FTC

“It was an wow match to watch and play. We expected to have a tough game but not that it would be decided in the last minute. We had to chase the result. Jug is a young team with an excellent coach. They played well all the way till the end. We handled well the pressure in the end but we conceded some easy goals which is not typical of us. We need to fix this against Recco. They are a top team but it is the semi-final and everything is open.”

Szilard Jansik, player, FTC

“We started well, led 3-0 but then got many easy goals, our key players got two exclusions, both Marton Vamos and Denes Varga so they had to sat out for the 3rd period. Jug then equalised and went into the lead. It was then that we showed how good we are. We were better in the last quarter. This is my third F8 and I am so happy to be in the semis again. We want to win. Now we must go back to the hotel and rest. It will be a hard game tomorrow.”

Vjekoslav Kobescak, coach, Jug

“We came back from very low, we started right in the opposite way as we had agreed before. But we managed to come back and find our game and after a while it looked like we could even win this match. Still, with a relatively shorter bench, our rotation was narrower than usual so it was a bit of expectable that we would not be able to hold on the high level till the end. Even in this condition, we had our chances but missed them – at the same time, I have to admit that based on the entire match, Ferencvaros deserved this victory. But we shouldn’t be unhappy either, we improved a lot during the season, achieved successes which should make us proud. Making the four best teams of Europe would have been a major feat for my players but I think everyone can hold his head high in the club.”

Konstantinos Kakaris, player, Jug

“Tough game. They are a very good team.. We tried, we really tried hard but it was not enough. The match could have gone both ways. In the end it was so close and it was the little details that decided the match. Nobody wants to play tomorrow ‘s match but we came here to play and that’s it. We will try to play well and we will see.”

Alex Papanastasiou, player, Jug

“It was a fantastic match for the fans. We had a bad start. We ruined our game plan but managed to come back and controlled the match at one point but then lost the concentration and maybe some strength too but it’s one match and it is no excuse. I don’t think matches for the 5th-8th places make much sense with a season packed with club and national team’s competitions.”