Looking to guide FC Lusitans to a first European win at the seventh attempt, coach Carlos Sánchez insists his side are feeling no nerves ahead of their UEFA Champions League first qualifying round tie against Faroese team EB/Streymur.
Formed in Andorra by Portuguese expats 14 years ago, Lusitans have risen to become the dominant force in the principality, recently winning a second successive Primera Divisiò title. However, UEFA Europa League first qualifying round defeats in 2010 and 2011 and last year's 9-0 aggregate loss to Valletta FC at the same stage of the UEFA Champions League have left the team eager to register a first triumph in European competition.
"We must try to put in a good performance and make sure we give a good impression of ourselves, all the while remaining focused on competing," Sánchez told UEFA.com. "It takes a lot of effort for us as Andorran clubs to get here. Because of that, we are working in a serious manner and looking at this tie as if it were a final."
Fifteen games into their domestic season, third-placed EB/Streymur are nine points off the pace in the Faroese Premier Division, yet it is the fact that Rúni Nolsøe's side are competing at all at this point that concerns Sánchez.
"The first thing on my mind is that the Faroe Islands begin their season in March and I am a little worried about their level of competitiveness right now; we finished two months ago," he said. "Of course, we haven't stopped training and have played a couple of friendlies, but I am more worried about the competitive side of things, or you could say the rhythm, as opposed to all of the work we have been putting in, which has been good."
Having taken over from Salvador Estruch in the winter, Sánchez led Lusitans to the league title with two games to spare. Citing his next goal as "getting a good result at home" in Tuesday's opening leg, the coach added that he had been surfing the internet – and in particular YouTube – in order to catch a glimpse of his opponents.
"If we manage to get a good result [at the Estadi Comunal] we will feel great, but that home game will be key," he explained. "The team know what they need to do. We are not normally nervous going into these types of big games and we must demonstrate that calmness out on the pitch."
Sánchez added that he would love to repay the club's fans with a tie against Georgia's FC Dinamo Tbilisi, who await the victors in the second qualifying round. "Maybe one day we will have a bit of luck and get to play the return leg at home," he said. "If we get through this tie that could happen, so fingers crossed."
Meanwhile, EB/Streymur are also seeking a change in fortunes as they look to improve on their last two European outings, which both resulted in elimination during UEFA Europa League qualifying via the away-goals rule. Those defeats came against Armenia's FC Gandzasar and Azerbaijan's Qarabağ FK, but coach Rúni Nolsøe is confident his side have what it takes this time around.
"I have had a look at their results in European competitions in previous years, and they have not been too good," said Nolsøe, appointed in the winter after Hedin Askham, who guided EB/Streymur to their second domestic title in 2012, took a year off. "Therefore I believe that we have a good opportunity to make progress, and that is certainly what we're aiming for."
He will be without regular goalkeeper René Tórgard, not making the trip as he awaits the birth of a child. In his place EB/Streymur have taken Hungarian goalkeeper Andras Gango on loan from 07 Vestu.
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