Valencia fans hailed the performance of their team and in particular coach Rafael Benitez, following their 1-0 UEFA Cup smei-final win over local rivals Villarreal.
“My name? I didn’t notice,” Ben’tez laughed, before admitting: “OK, it was nice to hear such acclaim for all of us but it’s important to praise the players.
‘They are the ones who decide games and although the coach is important, it wasn’t me out on the pitch tonight. If the fans did sing my name it’s only because my players are doing well.”
“This was as tough a tie as we expected it to be against a side which is never easy to defeat,” continued the Valencia coach.
“The truth was that we had plenty of chances which we could, and should, have converted – just as in the first leg. That way, the fans could have been celebrating earlier and none of us would have had to suffer right until the last moment.”
A first-half penalty from Mista put Valencia in their first UEFA Cup final.
“Walking out before the game to see a full, noisy stadium made me so proud,” the 25-year-old said.
“This is a time to celebrate – but first thing on Friday we have to get back to work and concentrate on beating Sevilla FC in order to win (the title).”
Meanwhile, a despondent Villarreal coach Francisco Garcia said: “I thought the penalty decision against us was harsh.
‘It is disappointing to come this far only to lose.”