Villarreal CF coach Juan Carlos Garrido has told his players they are good enough to win the UEFA Europa League as they gear up to host FC Twente in the first leg of their quarter-final on Thursday.
The Yellow Submarine have already dispatched SSC Napoli and Bayer 04 Leverkusen in the knockout stages and now have their sights on succeeding compatriots Club Atlético de Madrid as tournament winners. "We're strong enough to achieve success here, so I've asked my players to do their best to win this competition," said Garrido. "It's easy to say, but we're demanding our utmost in an attempt to win a trophy."
Having claimed victory in their last six UEFA Europa League outings at El Madrigal, the Spanish club certainly feel no reason to fear the Eredivisie leaders. "The match will be very balanced and close, it'll be decided by small details," said Garrido. "Everyone is very motivated, everyone knows the importance of this game and we're looking for a positive outcome from the first leg. We're facing a great team that's first in the Dutch league and in great form. We respect them and we know their qualities."
Positivity abounds in Garrido's squad, meanwhile, with midfielder Borja Valero focused on securing a last-four berth against either FC Porto and FC Spartak Moskva. "We have full confidence that we'll qualify," said the 26-year-old. "Our belief is the same as it would be if we were playing Milan. We're focused on giving everything and getting into the semi-finals.
"We expect a tough, complicated match, where hopefully we'll get a positive result and score without conceding," he added. "The Dutch style is all about good football, with lots of touches on the ball and movement. It'll be difficult to control play, but we'll try to impose our brand of football."
Respect is high in the opposition camp too, with visiting centre-back Douglas expecting "a difficult match" as he returns from a domestic suspension to the heart of the Twente defence. "Villarreal have very good players," he said. They're almost all internationals, with a few exceptions. But we also have quality.
"I've seen Villarreal a couple of times and they play the same style as Barcelona. They try to find solutions through good football. Their two strikers [Giuseppe] Rossi and Nilmar are especially dangerous and we'll have to watch them closely. We try to play football and we're not afraid of anyone. Villarreal are the favourites, though. They're a big club who've been playing on the European stage for ten years."
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