Paris St Germain manager Carlo Ancelotti insisted his team were well worth their place in the Champions League quarter-finals after they edged past Valencia.
Last night’s 1-1 draw in Paris guided PSG to a 3-2 aggregate success, with an opening goal from Valencia’s Jonas wiped out by an equaliser from Ezequiel Lavezzi.
Now the French capital club face a wait to learn who they must face in the last eight, with the draw taking place in eight days’ time.
For Ancelotti, twice a Champions League winner as a manager with AC Milan, getting through against Valencia was a fine achievement.
He said: “Over the two matches, I think we deserved to qualify. It was more difficult tonight (Wednesday) than in the away leg.
“In the first half, we played with a bit of worry about us. Paradoxically, we started to play better after the goal by Jonas and we played well in the second half. The players showed a very good reaction.”
And so PSG go forward to a Champions League quarter-final for the first time since 1995, when they beat Barcelona over two legs to advance to the semi-finals.
Milan toppled the Parisians in the last four, but on the evidence of last night’s largely drab performance Ancelotti’s team will struggle to make further progress this year.
The rebuilding process at the Parc des Princes is such that anything they achieve further in Europe this season can be considered a bonus.
Funds from the club’s owners, Qatar Investment Authority, have been used to shape a first team capable of competing at this level but they lack the strength in squad depth of many of the clubs they might encounter next.
The absence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic last night left PSG without a real presence in attack, and the suspension that counted the Swedish striker out of the second leg against Valencia will also keep him sidelined for the first match in the quarter-finals.
Club president Nasser Al-Khelaifi wants PSG to become a permanent fixture in the latter stages of the Champions League, and has designs on winning the trophy by 2016.
Al-Khelaifi is more than pleased with the progress that has already been achieved, and was full of praise for the accomplishment of finishing off a Spanish side with bags of Champions League experience.
“We are very happy to qualify for the quarter-finals,” he said.
“It was a difficult match for us, but we are now one of the best eight clubs in Europe and it’s magnificent.
“Before the match, I was very confident. It was a delicate operation to score tonight but everyone worked hard: the coach and the players.”