In the aftermath of their elimination from the UEFA Champions League, the message out of the KF Tirana camp is of pride. Manager Ndubuisi Egbo, speaking in the post-match press conference, praised the effort of his players following their defeat at the hands of Serbian champions Crvena Zvezda.
“There was nothing more for us to do,” the 47-year-old said. “We gave as much as we could on the pitch. We tried until the last moment to change our fate. I am proud of what the players gave to change the result.”
Egbo also hinted that the brief turnaround time between the end of the 2019/20 season and the start of the Champions League qualifiers may have played a part in his side’s ouster.
“Our new players did not have the opportunity to join the team. The team needs players.”
Tirana were without the ball for much of the game, but had the better opportunities to score on the night. However, a combination of wasteful finishing and good goalkeeping kept them out long enough for the visitors to score at the other end.
“We are human, so we are upset (about the missed chances),” Egbo admitted. “That’s normal. But I told the boys not to be upset. God decreed it would happen this way. Life goes on.”
Tirana president Refik Halili also praised the performance of the team despite the defeat, and promised significant investment in the team in the form of transfers in the coming weeks.
“Fate was not with us, I am happy with the way we played,” he said. “In the next matches we will have the largest contingent of players coming this week. I hope we can continue to move forward.”