Villarreal CF anchorman Marcos Senna expects his high-flying team to take advantage of Manchester United CF's "problems" at Old Trafford tonight.
The Brazilian-born midfielder has played his part in the Yellow Submarine's run of success since summer 2003. They twice won the UEFA Intertoto Cup and then went on to make fine progress in the UEFA Cup. However, it was qualification for this season's UEFA Champions League that signalled their growing status in Europe.
"Villarreal have been growing in the last two years," the 29-year-old anchorman told uefa.com. "The club board has been working hard to build a team with top quality, experienced players. We are doing our best for the club to go as far as possible."
While Villarreal have always been realistic about their prospects, Marcos Senna is not frightened to aim for results in games like tonight's one at Old Trafford. "United are one of the best teams in the world, but they are currently having problems and we want to take advantage of this situation," he said.
Ups and downs
Villarreal have had their share of problems too, hitting the bottom of the Primera División table after four games as they struggled to cope with the additional pressure of life in the UEFA Champions League. However, they have since swept up to fifth place and are ready to do battle with the Spanish giants again.
"We started badly last season as well," remembered Marcos Senna. "We found it difficult to show our best form in every competition. The second part of the championship went much better. We were able to win both at home and away and this season we are following the same path."
The team's progress has been helped enormously by Marcos Senna's occasional goal from midfield, and he found the target on Matchday 4 as Villarreal beat SL Benfica 1-0 in Lisbon. Coach Manuel Luis Pellegrini has been encouraging his protégé's attacking whims. "The coach has giving me freedom to move forward and shoot on goal," said Marcos Senna.
Those goals from midfield coupled with the fact that Marcos Senna has recently been granted a Spanish passport could yet take him into the Spanish national-team squad. "That would be a dream to me and I'm working hard for that day to come," revealed the defensive-minded player.
However, his first priority is still success with Villarreal, and he has yet to tire of competing with the best in Europe. "We want to take it step by step, but we are very excited," he said. "We know how difficult it was to get here, but it was not impossible. We are now leading our group and we want to stay here."