Michel Preud'homme dubbed Villarreal CF "the little Barcelona" after his FC Twente side were paired with the Liga club in the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals.
Twente will travel to Spain on 7 April before their home return a week later as they continue to dream of emulating their run to the 1974/75 UEFA Cup final. Their next opponents, however, were very impressive in beating Bundesliga high-fliers Bayer 04 Leverkusen 5-3 on aggregate in the round of 32 and boast the eight-goal tournament top scorer, Giuseppe Rossi.
"Villarreal play nice football," said Preud'homme. "They are a typical Spanish side, who play quickly with short combination football. They are a very good team. Actually they are the 'little' Barcelona. In the Europa League group stage I saw them play against Club Brugge and then you could also see their fine game play.
When you play against a Spanish side, they are always the favourites – they will be favourites against us," added the Twente coach, whose team are within a point of Eredivisie leaders PSV Eindhoven and are through to face AFC Ajax in the Dutch Cup final on 8 May. "These are extra matches for us, but we are still battling on three fronts. That is what we have achieved this season, and we are not going to make a choice between them. Against Villarreal we will have to play two very tough matches, but we will go for it all the way."
Villarreal defender José Catalá certainly considers the Enschede outfit a threat. "
Twente are a great side and are showing why in the Dutch league, where they are currently second," the 26-year-old said. "It seems we were predestined to play against every team that are second in their domestic leagues but we are on a good run and hope it continues. The down side is the return game being in the Netherlands but if we do well enough at El Madrigal we can get through.
"In general I suppose the draw was a good one. It may look like we're favourites but we have to show why out there on the pitch. If we fail to do that we'll be out. We don't know Twente very well but we are certain they have some very good players who have taken them to the quarter-finals."
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