“We’ll go into the game like it’s a final”
“We’ll go into the game like it’s a final”

Javi Calleja was excited but wary ahead of the game against Real Betis at the Benito Villamarín

Villarreal manager Javi Calleja underlined his excitement ahead of this Wednesday’s clash against Real Betis at the Villamarín. The head coach underlined that it won’t be easy to continue with the good run of results after getting 13 of out of the last 15 points possible. “We’re expecting a tough match against a good team that isn’t having a good time of it, and will want to change their run of results. We need to defend really well, show the cutting edge we’ve had in recent games and when we’ve got the ball make things difficult for them. We need to show what we do well, not gift them anything and make sure that they’re not comfortable in possession,” he analysed.

In fact, Calleja didn’t hesitate in underlining the importance of the game: “We need to go into the game like it was a final, we need to be ready for what we’re going to face, as it will be a tough game and they won’t gift us anything. We will come up against a good side, who have good players and we’ll need to be at our best.”

Calleja warned about the dangers of the side from Seville: “I’m expecting a Betis true to themselves, they’re a team who I like to watch. They’re a talented team and with the ball they make it difficult for you, they’re a team full of quality. It’s true that they’re not having a lot of luck in front of goal and that’s crucial, as things haven’t gone so well for them because of their lack of cutting edge up front.”

For the head coach, the defence could be key: “There’s a lot of equality between the two sides, both of which are talented. Who defends better will be key, as both teams like to have the ball and dominate the game through possession. When you relax defensively, stop being vigilant, you pay for it. It will be crucial to defend better than them without the ball.”

Regarding Villarreal’s European hopes, Calleja doesn’t want to put limits, but has his feet on the ground: “I see us with option to be in the fight, each day there are less games than before and we’re in a good run. Now we’re going to play against Betis and the idea is to win and add points to our total. We don’t want to limit ourselves and we want to aspire to the maximum possible. We can’t forget where we come for, and we’ve earned the right to be fighting for Europe during the year, and from there, it’s true that we’ve got players, a team and fans to aspire for everything. Now we’re where we are on merit, and we can do things well, to be consistent and believe in what we’re doing. We’re on a good run, the hard work is there, the team has improved and we’re feeling very good. I’m very happy with what the team and the players are doing.”

To see Calleja’s press conference in full in Spanish, click play.