Villarreal coach Manuel Pellegrini was frustrated that his side spurned a host of chances as Panathinaikos escaped with draw in their first leg of their UEFA Champions League knockout tie at El Madrigal.
His opposite number Henk Ten Cate admitted his side rode their luck but is confident about their chances despite watching Giorgos Karagounis’s second-half strike cancelled out by Giuseppe Rossi’s penalty.
“It’s a very unfair draw,” said Pellegrini. “We played well enough to earn a two-goal advantage but they found a goal they didn’t deserve. The tie is still open. We have to go to Greece and win; I’m sure we will go through. We have shown this season that we play better away from home.
“Panathinaikos were very defensive, virtually playing with six defenders and two players ahead of them, yet they got a good result while we failed to convert our opportunities. I congratulate my players for the big game they played, especially in the first half.
“Now we have to give them confidence that we can win in Athens and qualify. Our support for that? We saw it on the pitch today.
Panathinaikos coach, Henk Ten Cate, acknowledged that his side enjoyed a fair share of luck.
“It is a very good result for us,” said the Dutchman. “We scored away, which is always important. It was a match of contrasts: We were very lucky in many instances and unlucky with the penalty.
“When you play against Villarreal, one of the best teams in Spain in the last four or five years, you have to take this as a good result. The world of football is strange sometimes so the best side does not always win.
“Karagounis is a great player – very intelligent. He has a lot of experience in these types of games and is always one of our better players. Villarreal have more quality than us but with work and determination you can get good results.
“Now we have to make the most of home advantage. After that game we can evaluate if our approach tonight was successful.”