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UEFA Cup Final, Dortmund - Quotes

Before the Match

Antonio Karmona, Alaves Captain

"I was always a Liverpool fan when I was a kid, watching and admiring players like Ian Rush, Kenny Dalglish and Graeme Souness. I've always liked English football, with its commitment, solidity, strength and also its fair play and Liverpool were the epitome of that for me."

Jordi Cruyff, Alaves

"In Spain, people are convinced we can win, fans feel it is our cup, they have seen us beating big teams in the last two years, playing well and getting results. So why not now?"

"We know Liverpool fans will not put up with their team playing like they did against Barcelona. They will have to take the initiative and we are very dangerous in the counter-attack. We will run like never before and put pressure on all of Liverpool’s players. We will get after them! And if we keep a clean sheet, we will win the final."

Jose Manuel Esnal MANÉ, Alaves Coach

"There is no chance at all of us being intimidated by Liverpool, or freezing on the night. We're going to give our heart and soul for this title. We're ready to show the world of football that small clubs can be successful too. We're ready to make some history."

Gerard Houllier

"When you get through to a final the two teams both deserve to be there and both have an equal chance"


After the Match

Gerard Houllier

"First of all, I would like to dedicate the victory to the team behind our team. Our medical and technical staff have been superb throughout the season and you don't get anywhere without them.

"I was a little surprised that we conceded goals from set-pieces which we have avoided all season, and perhaps that was a sign that the players were somewhat tired. However, you never feel that there's lack of togetherness in this side when things go wrong and this has been a major improvement since I joined the club.

"Even before the extra-time my players looked extremely solid mentally and physically even though, Alavés had just equalised shortly before the end. We were determined to win the trophy as we had not won a European trophy in 17 years. Finally we are there.

"We won against Arsenal, but we did not have time to celebrate and the fact that we went to work instead of throwing a party shows character. I told the players before the match that we were playing for immortality and in the end we managed to write our own history.

"Both sides had a reputation for playing counter-attacking football but ironically both teams sought to take the initiative straight from the start. We will always be compared to the past and I don't think we will ever reach the same level as them because they totally dominated European football.

"Some years ago we lost against Celta de Vigo on home turf in the UEFA Cup with a team full of reserves. But I will never forget the supporters' reaction. They stood by us despite the difficult situation and today the players paid them back."

Gary McAllister

"It has not really sunk in yet what we have accomplished. It was a great achievement and what a season we have had. We only had to look back to the final against Arsenal last Saturday to know that we had it in us, and I think we played much better today than against Arsenal.

"I had no doubts about taking the penalty and perhaps people will begin to forget that I missed at Wembley in 1996 against England"

Patrik Berger

"It is unbelievable to win in the last minute. But we were ahead three times in the match and we deserved to win. After we went up 2-0 I thought that the game was over, but it was a very difficult game mentally.

"It's great for Liverpol as winning three cups is something no one will forget. It's a beautiful feeling, but it's not the end but the start of something and there is more success around the corner.

"I didn't really care where we played the final to be honest, but I won the German league here and now the UEFA Cup, so maybe it is good."

Vladimir Smicer

"It's a fantastic feeling. We really wanted to do the treble and go down in history and it was an amazing game.

"The UEFA Cup was definitely more difficult to win than the FA Cup as we had to play 13 games including against big teams like [FC] Barcelona."


Robbie Fowler

"This is obviously the best Liverpool team that I've played in as we have achieved something.

"As a manager Gérard Houllier, the way he has acted throughout the season, he has been fantastic."

Sander Westerweld

"I feel very sorry for Alavés as they had an unebelievable season. But we have beaten FC Porto, Barcelona and Roma, so you can't lose in the final to Alavés, in all due respect.

"I've always said that I would prefer to win 4-3 and make a couple of mistakes than lose,

"When we scored the penalty, I thought that it was going to be our final, but when they scored late on I thought something's not right for us here."

Jose Manuel Esnal MANÉ, Deportivo Alavés head coach:

"We knew what Liverpool were capable of, and what they have achieved. We tried to take the initiative, but when we were cut down to nine men, we no longer had the script in our hand.

"We tried to match them by making changes in midfield and for most part of the match it worked. 4-4 is definitely not a bad result, and in the end we were more dead than alive. I have tried to tell my players that we are still the same side as a couple of hours ago but of course the conditions have changed a little.

"Somebody had to lose in this final, and I think we can be proud. Of course it was the way we lost which makes everything so bitter now but tomorrow my players will be fine again. I am convinced that Alavés have a big future in Europe and perhaps next time we'll make it all the way."

Dan Eggen, Deportivo Alavés

"We were so close to penalties which was our main target at that time because of the expulsion of our two players.

"It was a hard match as we were always behind. They were ahead 2-0, 3-1 and 4-3 but we did the best that we could and you can't expect much more."

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