It is very hard to lose like this, says Sporting Lisbon's Sa Pinto

The 39-year-old was visibly disappointed that his side were not able to reach the final and stated that he was proud of what the team accomplished in the competition
Sporting Lisbon coach Ricardo Sa Pinto has lamented the manner in which his side suffered a 3-1 defeat against Athletic Bilbao in their Europa League semi-final tie.

A late goal from Fernando Llorente prevented the tie from going to extra time and denied Sporting of a place in the tournament decider after the Portuguese club had won the first leg 2-1.

"It is very hard to lose like this," Sa Pinto told SIC. "Our expectations were to reach the final, that is what we worked for.

"We were an extraordinary team in this competition, in terms of quality and organisation, and we showed an incredible desire to win and reach the final in Bucharest.

"We knew that they wanted to take advantage of aerial play. We faced a very aggressive side, while we lacked some aggression and clarity, especially in the first half.

"I am proud to coach this team and to look at the path we took. I think we honoured Sporting's badge."