Montella hails Sevilla players' 'game of their lives'
Vincenzo Montella felt his side played "the game of their lives" after Sevilla dumped Manchester United out of the Champions League on Tuesday.
Following a goalless first leg in Seville three weeks ago, many had United as firm favourites to progress to the quarter-finals.
But Sevilla had other ideas at Old Trafford, stifling the home side's major attacking threats before striking a double hammer blow late on.
Wissam Ben Yedder, introduced off the bench in the 72nd minute, scored twice within six minutes to leave United needing three. Romelu Lukaku did pull one back but a complete turnaround never looked to be on the cards, leaving Sevilla to celebrate a place in the last eight of Europe's top club competition for the first time since 1958.
Vamos equipo - muchas gracias afición Histórico! Felicidades a todos // Congrats to everbody in #SevillaFC - thanks for amazing support to the fans We made history together. #VamosMiSevilla #UCL #ChampionsLeague pic.twitter.com/m8r44cm3CP— Simon Kjaer (@simonkjaer1989) 13 March 2018
"I'm very, very happy, it's amazing we've won in this very special stadium and the first time in 60 years we're in the quarter-finals of the Champions League," Montella told his post-match news conference.
"I have some very happy players who have got Sevilla in their soul and in their heart. All the players were fantastic, they played the game of their lives.
"Even though we didn't create chances in the first half we put in a good performance. I felt we were in control possession wise and we gave them very little opportunity to get close to our goal.
"In the second half I'm pleased Ben Yedder turned things around and it was he who made the difference. He was decisive and finished well on two occasions."
Last time out in LaLiga, Sevilla were beaten 2-0 at home by Valencia to fall 11 points behind their opponents in the race for the fourth and final Champions League qualification spot.
For you, Sevillistas pic.twitter.com/PzT4MWq12E— Sevilla FC (@SevillaFC_ENG) 13 March 2018
Montella was thrilled to see his players bounce back from that damaging defeat, while insisting it will be just as difficult to overhaul Valencia as it will be to claim European glory and a place in next season's competition.
"We were risky against Valencia and paid by losing that game," he said. "However, tonight we were every effective and it was a totally different style of play and I'm happy we managed to turn things around.
"Everything is difficult! I think it's just as hard catching Valencia or getting to the final. There are two more rounds before the final so let's talk about the quarters before we talk about the final!
"I'm not thinking about the next opponent, whether it be Italian or whoever, I'm just enjoying this moment."