Viktor Claesson

Neestrup: European consistency hugely important

F.C. Copenhagen head coach Jacob Neestrup says maintaining the Lions' presence in Europe is of huge importance heading into Friday's UEFA Europa Conference League playoff with Randers.

A 1-1 draw against FC Nordsjælland on Sunday secured third place in the Danish Superliga and safe passage to the playoff.

Viktor Claesson scored the opener for FCK in a sold-out Parken, before Conrad Harder hit back late in the game for FCN.

"I have great respect for the way the players performed today, because we had put ourselves under a lot of pressure, but got the result we should have," says Neestrup.

"There were periods today when we were really good, and we also had the chances to close the game out early, so not everything was perfect.

"It was very important to keep the opportunity to play in Europe next season, because when we can't get what we want then we have to take the second best, and therefore we have to finish the job on Friday by winning.

"We have not delivered well enough in the Superliga and lived up to the great expectations that is rightly placed on F.C. Copenhagen, but the support we got in here today was really great. Yes, there is some criticism and I would have liked to have done without that, but we would also have done without that if we had performed better.

"These are the premises at the club, and we take the criticism to heart when it hurts, just as we enjoy the good times. But I would like to wait for an overall evaluation of the season, because it is not over yet, and it makes a huge difference whether we will play in Europe or not, so we can direct all our focus on that now and in the coming days."

FCK will play Randers in Friday's playoff, which kicks off at 7pm in Parken.