Ståle: A tough situation now

FC Copenhagen manager Ståle Solbakken admits the team is in a "tough situation" after the UEFA Champions League qualifying exit to Red Star Belgrade on Tuesday.

FCK lost in a penalty shootout to the Serbian side to drop into the Europa League playoff round.

The Lions will face either Riga or HJK Helsinki in the two-legged round, with the winner progressing to the Europa League groups stage.

But Ståle was left ruing FCK's missed chances to beat Red Star.

"We have put ourselves in a tough mental situation now," Ståle said.

"We should have created more chances in the 90 minutes, and we weren't sharp enough on the chances we got. But Red Star were deep and compact and defended well, and after their red card, they seem to be just waiting for the shootout.

"We tried with all the offensive cards we have, and there were also several times when the bounce of the ball didn't go our way today. And in the penalty shootout, both N'Doye and Bartolec had the chance to put that crucial kick in. So it's terrible right now and it's hard for a lot of the players right now because we were so close.

"But that's how football is. We knew in advance it was going to be two close matches with small margins, and you have to say it was. They were a little better than us in Belgrade and we were a little better than them today.

"But now there is nothing for it but getting up as quickly as possible, and we have to get ready for a tough away match in Randers on Friday. And then we have to see if we will meet Riga or HJK next week, because now, of course, it's about taking the last chance to get into a European group stage."

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Europa League playoff

FCK vs Riga FC / HJK Helsinki
Thursday, August 22 at 19.45 in Telia Parken

Riga FC / HJK Helsinki vs FCK
Thursday, August 29 at 20.45 (CEST) at Skonto Stadium, if in Riga
Thursday, August 29 at 18.00 (CEST) at Telia 5G Areena, if in Helsinki