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Europa League contenders mull over draw

Published: Friday 30 August 2013, 18.41CET
With the 48 clubs now knowing to which corners of Europe they will travel in the UEFA Europa League group stage, UEFA.com rounds up the reaction to Friday's draw in Monaco.
Europa League contenders mull over draw
Ludogorets and Dinamo Zagreb, in Group B, met in the UEFA Champions League last term ©Stoyan Georgiev
Published: Friday 30 August 2013, 18.41CET

Europa League contenders mull over draw

With the 48 clubs now knowing to which corners of Europe they will travel in the UEFA Europa League group stage, UEFA.com rounds up the reaction to Friday's draw in Monaco.

Group A: Valencia CF, Swansea City AFC, FC Kuban Krasnodar, FC St Gallen

Miroslav Djukić, Valencia coach
It's a strong group, but we are Valencia and we have big ambitions. If you want to do something in this competition, you have to look to beat everyone. We are confident in ourselves. We believe we have a team good enough to beat anyone. The games against Swansea will be very attractive. They are a side with a lot of Spanish players and a coach who plays in a Spanish style, and the fans will really enjoy these matches.

Kuban Krasnodar are a very good side who are up there in the Russian league and who will present difficulties. St Gallen eliminated Spartak Moskva with a 4-2 win in Russia so they have to be taken very seriously. Swiss football is going through a boom at the moment. There are no easy teams in our group. We are not facing a single team against whom you could say 'We can afford to relax here,' but, having said that, we are good enough to get through. 

Group B: PSV Eindhoven, GNK Dinamo Zagreb, FC Chornomorets Odesa, PFC Ludogorets Razgrad

Stoicho Stoev, Ludogorets Razgrad coach
Ludogorets were in the fourth pot and could not have any specific wishes. Every opponent is tough, although PSV look to be the favourites. Last season we lost against Dinamo Zagreb in the UEFA Champions League second qualifying round, but we must not approach those games looking for revenge. The group stage is a challenge for us and we can take only positives from the games.

Group C: R. Standard de Liège, FC Salzburg, IF Elfsborg, Esbjerg fB

Florian Klein, Salzburg defender
We wanted a group that allows us to believe in the chance of reaching the next round, rather than just playing along. The opponents are good teams, but we definitely feel that we have a chance to go through from the group stage.

Group D: FC Rubin Kazan, Wigan Athletic FC, NK Maribor, SV Zulte Waregem

Owen Coyle, Wigan manager
Logistically, Rubin Kazan was the furthest away and, probably in terms of the travelling back and forth, the least you would have craved, given there was Sevilla and Valencia [in pot one] and some real glamour ties. We have to make the best of it when it comes about. They are some tough games, but ones as a football club we're looking forward to.

Habib Habibou, Zulte Waregem forward
Rubin Kazan are a very strong team in this group, but I had hoped to draw them because I have two friends there: Chris Mavinga and Yann M'Vila. Now it is up to us to defend our chances and we certainly have to grab them. I also know someone at Wigan and they also are a very strong side.

Group E: ACF Fiorentina, FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, FC Paços de Ferreira, CS Pandurii Târgu Jiu

Juande Ramos, Dnipro coach
The draw is satisfactory for us, though we understand that in Europe all the teams are tough and there will no easy victories for us against anyone. The teams we were drawn against are pretty tough and we will have to take every one of them very seriously. But we intend to still be in the competition after the group stage. That is our goal, our dream, and we will strive towards it.

Group F: FC Girondins de Bordeaux, APOEL FC, Eintracht Frankfurt, Maccabi Tel-Aviv FC

Francis Gillot, Bordeaux coach
The league has just begun in Germany and Frankfurt are in the middle of the table with one victory and two defeats in three matches, although it does not have much meaning at this point of the season. It is difficult to speak of these teams now and hard to make predictions. We cannot really speak of their quality today. Everything remains to be done. I don't know APOEL and I haven't seen Maccabi matches for a while, so we will have to analyse everything later.

Group G: FC Dynamo Kyiv, KRC Genk, SK Rapid Wien, FC Thun

Mario Been, Genk coach
Dynamo will be tough, a big team with very good players, so I value them very highly. Rapid Wien are a big-name club in Austria and have always been a great side, and Thun are a little unknown but they progressed in Europe so they must be capable of doing something. All in all, we cannot be unhappy with this draw. Maybe the fans here would have loved to have some bigger names, but it is nice to have a chance to progress and that is our goal.

Zoran Barisic, Rapid Wien coach
We are looking forward to matches against quality opponents and I don't view ourselves as favourites necessarily. Our mentality is to take one game at a time and see what we can accomplish. Our main objective was to qualify for the group stage, where we can develop further as a team.

Group H: Sevilla FC, SC Freiburg, Estoril Praia, FC Slovan Liberec

Unai Emery, Sevilla coach
It's an interesting group. Freiburg are an attractive team who always stand up to the test in big games. Estoril had a good campaign last season which saw them qualify for this competition. The idea in those matches will be to demonstrate that we are the better team. We know about Slovan – they were the most difficult side in the last pot. They eliminated Udinese. It will be an attractive and demanding group.

Christian Streich, Freiburg coach
At the moment I don't know enough about our opponents to fully judge their strengths and weaknesses. I won't let myself be distracted by the fact that we have two teams in our group, Liberec and Estoril, who don't have a high level of prominence. My players are extremely happy that they are part of this competition. If I was a player, I would have celebrated as well.

Group I: Olympique Lyonnais, Real Betis Balompié, Vitória SC, HNK Rijeka

Pepe Mel, Betis coach
It's a group like any other; the only difference is that it has the additional [bonus] of featuring a team that came from the UEFA Champions League [play-offs] and that makes things all the more difficult. We didn't really mind who we drew, the fact of just being in the draw was already a prize. The most important thing, however, is the hope, expectation and eagerness we take with us into the tournament. We are keen to perform well in the UEFA Europa League, so that means we will be taking our six games with all the seriousness in the world.

Group J: SS Lazio, Trabzonspor AŞ, Legia Warszawa, Apollon Limassol FC

Jan Urban, Legia coach
We have one very attractive opponent in the group – Lazio, of course. Trabzonspor are a little bit exotic for us but also very demanding. Lazio are favourites; I guess we may be fighting with Trabzonspor for second place, but that's just a theory. We will know much more after two or three matches. I don't think Lazio are stronger than Steaua, who beat us in the Champions League play-offs; if we play like we did then, I would say we will qualify. It will be a good experience for my players, who will test themselves against big names like Miroslav Klose, Florent Malouda or Hernanes.

Group K: Tottenham Hotspur FC, FC Anji Makhachkala, FC Sheriff, Tromsø IL

Group L: AZ Alkmaar, PAOK FC, Maccabi Haifa FC, FC Shakhter Karagandy

Gertjan Verbeek, AZ coach
We are happy that we can go on a trip a few times again, but it will be very long journeys to Israel and Kazakhstan this time. But let's not complain about it and be happy that we are in the group stage.

Miroslav Stoch, PAOK winger
We avoided tougher opponents and it may appear as if ourselves and AZ are favourites to make it to the next stage, but whether it's a good or a bad draw will be proved on the pitch. We must be very focused on our task in order to progress. We have the potential to do well, especially if we play like we did in the UEFA Champions League play-offs against Schalke.

Andrei Finonchenko, Shakhter Karagandy forward
For us, any group would have been tough and exciting because it's our first appearance in the group stage of a European club competition. Of course, we would like to have been drawn against big sides like Lazio, Tottenham or Lyon, but it is going to be interesting with the teams we got. AZ and Maccabi played Aktobe several years ago, while PAOK are pretty much unknown for us. We will try to get not only experience but also some points.

Last updated: 06/09/13 4.44CET

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