Two games from making history at Villarreal CF. The Submarine will look to qualify for their first ever European Final as they take on Liverpool FC in the Semi-finals of the UEFA Europa League. The first leg will be played this Thursday at El Madrigal (9:05pm CET). “Liverpool might be the favourite. The club, their history and the fact that they knocked out Borussia Dortmund all add up, but we don’t consider ourselves to be less than. We are going to give everything from our side to eliminate this legendary team”, Marcelino commented at midday today.
According to the manager, Villarreal are going into this tie full of hope and with no pressure: “We don’t have any pressure on us. I’m really satisfied with and grateful to this squad for getting to this Semi-final. We are very hopeful and convinced that we are capable of beating Liverpool, and all the while we'll be enjoying the occasion. We are privileged to be able to play in this Semi-final. I felt more pressure in the previous knockout ties. We have the chance to make history at this club now. If we manage to enjoy the match and do the things we know how to do I think they’re going to suffer a lot at our ground”.
With that said, Marcelino also warned about the English side’s potential: “Liverpool are a very good team, with extraordinary players that play to a high intensity. They possess a great counterattack and pressure a lot too, they’re not going to give us any room to play. We have to search for ways to get past their first line of pressure. It will definitely be a great game. In general, we have a similar style of play to them”.
For this match the manager will be able to count on Musacchio and Jaume Costa, who have both recovered from their respective injuries. “If they’re on the team sheet they’re ready to play, but it’s also true that they’re coming back from an inactive period. They’ve returned for this game and we hope that they won’t suffer any more problems and we will be able to count on them for the final stretch of the season. We’re really happy that they are back with us”, Marcelino added.
Soldado: "The excitement must help us to play to our top level”
The other star of today’s press conference at El Madrigal was Roberto Soldado. The Yellows striker reiterated what his manager had said: “It would be a very big achievement for Villarreal to get through to the Final. It’s what we’re all dreaming about. We strongly believe in our chances, although we know it’s going to be difficult”.
According to the Yellow number 9 the excitement of the team and fans must be the driving force against Liverpool: “This game has given the team and the fans such a lot of excitement. We need everyone to give their best tomorrow to get a good result and to do this, we must all be at 100%. This excitement must help us to play to our top level. We shouldn’t feel any pressure but go out there and enjoy the moment that we’re going to live together, players and fans alike”.
Soldado hopes to get to the UEFA Europa League Final for the first time: “It’s a special match in which those of us with experience must make our presence felt on the pitch, but this is a team game and we all have to be in it together from kick off. I haven’t won either of the two Europa League Semi-finals that I’ve played in and so I want to make it third time lucky”.
To finish Soldado analysed Liverpool, highlighting their physical power: “Liverpool are a powerful team physically, but we'll have chances to do them damage. They are a very direct team when they have the ball. They’re a great side and that’s why they’re in a European Semi-final”.