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By ESPN Staff

Labbadia boosted by away goal

Stuttgart boss Bruno Labbadia remains upbeat despite his side losing 2-1 in their Europa League first-leg clash away to Benfica.

Stuttgart are in the midst of a relegation battle domestically, but their European performances have never disappointed this season and the trip to Portugal was no exception, even if Labbadia wanted more.

"It is a shame because there was more in it for us,'' he said on his club's website. "From the 70th minute onwards, we stood too deep and lost too many balls and could not play out our counter attacks to a conclusion.

"It is frustrating that we put ourselves under pressure with so many simple losses of possession.''

Nevertheless, Labbadia says the tie is still open and that his side is moving in the right direction.

"I am not happy with the result,'' he said. "But we have scored an away goal and this makes the return leg interesting. And I have seen progress being made by my team in the first 70 minutes.''

Stuttgart now need to make progress in the Bundesliga on Sunday when they head to Bayer Leverkusen.

"Our team ploughed the field tonight and had plenty of good moments and that gives us hope for our coming games,'' said the club's director of sport Fredi Bobic.

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