Garcia: We didn't deserve to qualify
Lille coach Rudi Garcia candidly admitted that his side did not deserve a place in the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League after failing to defeat Trabzonspor in their final group game last night.
The French side went into the match as arguably the favourites of the three teams still in with a chance of progressing alongside Group B winners Inter Milan, with home-ground advantage against Trabzonspor and bottom side CSKA Moscow facing a tricky trip to the San Siro.
But Lille's goalless stalemate at Stade Metropole, allied to CSKA's surprise 2-1 win over Inter, meant it was the Russian side celebrating their place in the knockout stage, while the point for Trabzonspor kept them ahead of Lille as they claimed the consolation of a place in the UEFA Europa League.
"It was a loss for the whole club, and obviously I have my share of responsibility for that," Garcia told reporters.
"But if we weren't able to beat Trabzonspor in front of our own fans, then it wouldn't make sense for us to be one of the last 16 clubs in the competition.
"We should have scored when we had so many chances in the first half. We just needed a bit more composure, we needed to get more of our shots on target."
Garcia was critical of Trabzonspor's negative approach to the match, though. The Turkish side went into the game a point ahead of both Lille and CSKA, and clearly felt Inter would do them a favour if they could manage to take a point from their trip to France.
"Our attacking football wasn't rewarded against a side who were only out to defend, a tactic that ended up costing them dearly, by the way. They shot themselves in the foot," Garcia added.
"But we should have taken the opportunity to win in front of our fans. But I told the players that I couldn't fault them on their performance, that [it] is just part of our apprenticeship at the highest level.
"We're super-motivated to return to the Champions League next season and we know that this will only happen if we bounce back straight away, starting on Sunday with the visit of Dijon [in Ligue 1]."