Eintracht Frankfurt manager Adi Hutter admits missing out on a spot in the Europa League final on penalties “hurts”.
Eintracht arrived at Stamford Bridge on Thursday night tied 1-1 on aggregate with Chelsea for the second leg of their semi-final tie.
After going a goal down to Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s 28th-minute opener, star forward Luka Jovic equalised for Eintracht just four minutes after the break.
The rumoured Real Madrid target’s strike was his 10th of the Europa League and forced the two teams in extra-time after finishing 2-2 on aggregate.
French striker Sebastien Haller was unlucky not to have scored after both David Luiz and Davide Zappacosta cleared his attempts off the goalline.
Chelsea keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga then saved two of Eintracht’s spot-kicks to secure the Blues a 4-3 victory on penalties.
“I would like to congratulate Chelsea, of course, we are very disappointed that our dream didn’t come true,” said Hutter, according to Yahoo.
“We wanted to get to the final. The penalty shoot-out showed we couldn’t make it but I am very proud of my team and they gave everything and we almost beat Chelsea. It hurts but we have to be proud.”
Despite missing out on a spot in the Europa League final, Eintracht can still compete in the Champions League next season if they hold on to fourth spot in the Bundesliga ahead of the final two games.
Hutter continued: “The disappointment is very big, the heads are hanging low. It was a dream to get to the final, that didn’t happen.
“You have to get the boys up again and be proud of what they have done. We have the chance in the Bundesliga to reach the Champions League.”
Regardless, the Austrian coach is proud of Eintracht’s exploits in Europe this season after overcoming the likes of Inter Milan and Lazio to reach the semi-finals.
Hutter added: “It was fantastic. The performance we had, six wins and knocked out some Champions League teams and we almost embarrassed the top team at home, but we have nothing to show for it. It was a sensational international campaign, the fans were wonderful and we know what they are like.”
Eintracht will next play 12th-placed side Mainz 05 at the Commerzbank-Arena on Sunday.