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Clubs respond to round of 32 challenges

Published: Monday 16 December 2013, 16.45CET
"Juventus were knocked out of the Champions League by a Turkish side and we can give them the pleasure of being eliminated by another!" UEFA.com wraps up the draw reaction.

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Published: Monday 16 December 2013, 16.45CET

Clubs respond to round of 32 challenges

"Juventus were knocked out of the Champions League by a Turkish side and we can give them the pleasure of being eliminated by another!" UEFA.com wraps up the draw reaction.

Trabzonspor AŞ are thrilled to be taking on final hosts Juventus, a meeting with his old side Tottenham Hotspur FC is a little daunting for FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk coach Juande Ramos, and Maccabi Tel-Aviv FC can be excused a small sigh after being paired with the team that eliminated them from this season's UEFA Champions League, FC Basel 1893.

UEFA.com rounds up the reaction to the UEFA Europa League round of 32 draw.

FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk v Tottenham Hotspur FC
Juande Ramos, Dnipro coach
Luck was not with us in this draw. Tottenham are one of the favourites to win the competition. They are a very strong side, but we have to take to the pitch and play with no other thought than to fight for the win over two legs.

Real Betis Balompié v FC Rubin Kazan
Juanfran, Betis midfielder
It's going to be a difficult tie. The cold plays a big part when you travel to a country like Russia so I think it will be a very even tie – I see it at 50-50. Things aren't exactly working out for them in their domestic league either. We weren't really thinking about who we would get in the draw. The UEFA Europa League will be put to one side until February; we are now thinking about the Liga. [Rubin] have some good players. We will respect them, but we are Betis and we must look to get through. [Current Betis defender Jordi once played for Rubin so] he can give us good first-hand information on them.

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Kurban Berdyev, Rubin coach
Betis are an experienced side – they have played in European competition numerous times. Even though they are struggling in the Spanish Liga, it will be a very tough tie. It will be difficult to make it to the next round and we cannot approach these games with a lack of discipline. We respect them very much.

Vladislav Kulik, Rubin midfielder
Betis? They are a famous team. I have not been following them lately, but Spanish football is always good. It will not be easy for us, that is for sure. The fact they are bottom of their league does not mean a thing because many clubs struggle domestically and are successful in the UEFA Champions League or UEFA Europa League. I would not like to make any predictions – we will see what happens on the pitch.

Swansea City AFC v SSC Napoli
Aurelio De Laurentiis, Napoli president
Swansea are a good side, but we have a chance to qualify and we must win. Our coach [Rafael Benítez] knows Premier League football better than anybody else, so this could be an advantage for us. We just need patience, because we are building something very strong at Napoli.

Rafael Benítez, Napoli coach
Swansea have made great strides. [Michael] Laudrup is a coach who loves his teams to keep possession. They play brilliant football and have a good squad of players, including Michu. As our president says, the Europa League means a lot to us and we'll give our best to reach the next round.

Juventus v Trabzonspor AŞ
Hami Mandıralı, Trabzonspor assistant coach
We are not scared of Juventus. It will be great to play against them. Trabzonspor have had some good results recently and we'll play against one of the giants of the Champions League. It will be a nice game. We have Turkish internationals as well as players who are experienced in Europe in our squad. We are trying to do our best within our limits.

It's not important to play the first match away or at home – you can't win without playing home and away. Regardless of your opponents, you need to play your own game. Eliminating Juventus would be something else. We’ll do our best to do Trabzonspor proud on the European stage.

İbrahim Ethem Hacıosmanoğlu, Trabzonspor president
I wouldn't see this as an unlucky draw. I very much wanted to be drawn against an Italian side, having faced another Italian outfit – Lazio – in our group. Juventus were knocked out of the Champions League by a Turkish side and we can give them the pleasure of being eliminated by another!

When we really want to, Trabzonspor play good football. The ties will be played after the January break anyway. We have decent players but when we add some missing pieces, I believe we will be even better. Trabzonspor are generally successful against Italian teams. We have beaten some of the leading sides in the European game. If we can show our real strength, we can knock out Juventus too. We are not short of fans in Italy either. It's an advantage to play the first match away. If we get a positive result there, we believe we can clinch the tie in Trabzon.

NK Maribor v Sevilla FC
Ante Šimundža, Maribor coach
They have won the UEFA Cup twice and have some great players. Sevilla are a club with a big status in Europe. For us, these two matches will be a joy and reward for our hard work and success in surviving a winter in Europe for the very first time. We will come back for our winter training camp a week earlier than planned, but we don't plan any other changes. Until then, we will watch their games in the Spanish Liga to get a full picture of how they play.

Sevilla are seventh in the Spanish table. We cannot say they are not difficult opponents, but it's good that Sevilla have a big name and reputation.

Unai Emery, Sevilla coach
We'll take that draw. We always have the utmost respect for every rival we face but considering who we could have got, I think we can be happy. We can compete with, and beat, them. We are talking about the strongest team in Slovenia. They are top of their league and the fact they have reached this stage says they will not be easy opponents.

FC Viktoria Plzeň v FC Shakhtar Donetsk
David Limberský, Plzeň midfielder
Shakhtar are a very strong team and I don't think we are going to be the favourites in this tie. It will be a memorable occasion for [Shakhtar's Czech defender] Tomáš Hübschman, and they also have some great Brazilian players – they are tremendously strong opponents. I also know their stadium is very good. I can promise on behalf of my dressing room that we are going to do everything to qualify, but it will be really hard.

Yaroslav Rakitskiy, Shakhtar defender
I think Plzeň are a decent side. I know little about them right now, but I watched their game when they beat [PFC] CSKA Moskva [on matchday six]. We're determined to go far in the Europa League after bowing out of the Champions League. We'll have a training camp this winter and make sure we're back to our best for the upcoming matches.

FC Chornomorets Odesa v Olympique Lyonnais
Olexiy Gai, Chornomorets midfielder
Yesterday, [coach] Roman Grygorchuk said he wanted to play Lyon, so we did not even need to watch the draw! Lyon are one of the best teams in France. We will discover their strengths and weaknesses during the match, but overall they are a decent team. Do we want to play Shakhtar in the round of 16? All Ukraine would want to see a tie like that, but it is too early to discuss it.

Rémi Garde, Lyon coach
I have a lot of respect for all the teams who have reached this stage of the competition so I won't say too much about this particular draw. All the French sides taking part in European competition should be supported. If Paris Saint-Germain go a long way [in the UEFA Champions League], we will be happy for them.

SS Lazio v PFC Ludogorets Razgrad
Vladimir Petković, Lazio coach
It could have been worse, but Ludogorets are a dangerous side. They may lack experience at European level, but they have good players and we will have to give our very best to beat them. Playing in Europe is a great motivation for them – their players will give 110% to show what they can do at this level. Last season we did well in the UEFA Europa League. With a bit of luck we can do even better this season, but we have to take it match by match.

Stoicho Stoev, Ludogorets coach
Whether we wanted it or not, this is the draw. I follow Serie A closely and I know about Lazio, but just as a fan and not as a coach, so now I will start to follow them more closely. They have some great players, like Miroslav Klose. Lazio have an advantage as there is no winter break in Italy, but we will give our best and try to be totally ready for them.

Esbjerg fB v ACF Fiorentina
Niels Frederiksen, Esbjerg coach
It is a very interesting draw. Fiorentina are a team from the top of Serie A, and for many of us this is going to be the kind of challenge we have never faced before – but also a challenge we are really looking forward to.

Of course we have a chance, as there is always a chance when two football teams meet, but I would consider it a major surprise if we succeed in eliminating Fiorentina. I am convinced, though, that this is an opponent who can fill our stadium for the home match!

FC Dynamo Kyiv v Valencia CF
Vicente Guaita, Valencia goalkeeper
[Dynamo] represent a difficult rival as they compete on a European level every year. [They are also used to] dealing with the cold conditions. We have to be strong at the Mestalla while over there we will look to put in a good performance in order to overcome them. Unlike in the group stage, you cannot afford to lose a game at this point.

AFC Ajax v FC Salzburg
Frank de Boer, Ajax coach
I think we are the favourites, but we certainly cannot underestimate Salzburg. We have to give all we've got if we want to progress.

Franz Schiemer, Salzburg defender
Ajax are one of the toughest opponents we could have got in this draw. They are a top club, so we will certainly have a big crowd at our stadium. It's a small advantage to have the second leg at home. I once played against Ajax with FK Austria Wien and we lost, so I still have a personal score to settle with them.

Maccabi Tel-Aviv FC v FC Basel 1893
Jordi Cruyff, Maccabi Tel-Aviv sporting director
They had an excellent run in the Champions League, but there is always the January transfer window so it is possible there might be some changes – they might sell their best players or lose their coach, you never know.

I don't think we're in a position to consider ourselves favourites in European matches, especially after the group phase. For us it is just a nice experience and we are going to try and make the most of it. We will give 100% and see how it goes. For Maccabi Tel-Aviv, the most important match is always the next one and this match is going to be played in two months, so there is a lot of time for preparations and to think about this game. We are very proud to be in this round and all we can do is give the maximum without being under any pressure.

FC Porto v Eintracht Frankfurt
Paulo Fonseca, Porto coach
We are facing a team from the Bundesliga, one of the strongest and most competitive leagues in the world. They beat Leverkusen at the weekend and managed five wins in the Europa League group stage, so we're expecting a tough tie. We want to enhance our reputation in Europe so we'll work hard to stay in the competition.

Murat Yakin, Basel coach
It's a great draw for us to start the knockout stage. We know them from our matches in the summer [UEFA Champions League third qualifying round]. The atmosphere is always great at Bloomfield Stadium. The fact Maccabi progressed so comfortably from the group stage of the Europa League shows they have a great team.

FC Porto v Eintracht Frankfurt
Bruno Hübner, Eintracht sporting director
It's a great draw, for our team as well as for our fans. But it is also one of the toughest draws we could get. We will be the underdogs in both ties – we have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Heribert Bruchhagen, Eintracht executive director
We didn't want to draw a team coming from the UEFA Champions League. Porto are very experienced at this level and it is a very tough draw, but Bundesliga sides have shown we can perform at the top level. We are not overjoyed but it's a great challenge. Over two legs we can spring a surprise.

FC Anji Makhachkala v KRC Genk
Gadzhi Gadzhiev, Anji coach
I know Genk well because we follow the Belgian league closely. We bought defender João Carlos from them [in 2011]. Genk are dangerous opponents but I believe we have a chance to win the tie.

Andrei Yeschenko, Anji defender
Genk are a good team but we can compete with them. I believe it is within our grasp to reach the round of 16. I agree that Anji have been a bit lucky in the Europa League. We were not drawn into the toughest of groups and we have also had some luck with this draw.

PAOK FC v SL Benfica
Stefanos Athanasiadis, PAOK forward
We have two former Benfica players in our ranks, Kostas Katsouranis and Miguel Vítor, who can hopefully give us some pointers. Hopefully we can achieve our goals. Benfica are a very good side – they play attractive football and they reached last season's final. I believe we can go through, though. We are always very focused when playing big-name opponents and have got good results in the past, especially away from home.

Huub Stevens, PAOK coach
Benfica are very strong opponents. We know that from their recent games against Olympiacos in the UEFA Champions League and in the two months until these matches we will study them further. Benfica are one of the best teams in the round of 32. Playing against a strong team is good as it gives us more to focus on, but going through is even better. It's a difficult tie yet over the two games we will try to make the most of our chances. For our fans, it's fantastic to see strong teams here at the Toumba and I hope they will enjoy these matches.

FC Slovan Liberec v AZ Alkmaar
Jan Nezmar, Liberec sporting director
It will not be a new experience for us as we were drawn against Alkmaar seven years ago. Dutch football is known for its attacking style, so our fans can expect an attractive game. We do not have recent info on AZ, so we will start our research, but I think we will have to approach the game with our renowned careful defensive tactics.

Martin Frýdek, Liberec defender
As a Dutch team, Alkmaar will prefer attractive, attacking football, so this might suit us.

Dick Advocaat, AZ coach
We certainly have a chance to reach the next stage. Slovan Liberec play for the top places in the Czech Republic every year, but now they are sixth, so maybe at this moment they are just as strong as AZ [who are seventh in the Eredivisie]. The fact we play away first is an advantage, as we will then know exactly what we have to do at home.

Last updated: 16/12/13 20.44CET

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