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Lăcătuş looking for Steaua revival

FC Steaua Bucureşti coach Marius Lăcătuş insists his side "still have a chance of qualifying" as they seek their first Group H points at home against Sevilla FC.

FC Steaua Bucureşti coach Marius Lăcătuş insists his side "still have a chance of qualifying" as they seek their first Group H points at home against Sevilla FC.

'Aim to qualify'
Steaua's third coach this season following the departures of Gheorghe Hagi and Massimo Pedrazzini, Lăcătuş inherited a team struggling both in Liga 1 – where they lie seventh following Sunday's 2-0 reverse at FC Politehnica 1921 Ştiinţa Timisoara – and in Europe, but the former Romanian international has not abandoned hope of a UEFA Champions League fightback. "People ask me about our objectives," he said. "I say we still have a chance of qualifying. It seems to be easier to settle for fighting for third position and a place in the UEFA Cup, but it isn't at all. Let's think about beating both Sevilla and [SK] Slavia Praha and aiming to qualify. This is the best attitude."

Attacking intentions
With Steaua still point-less, Lăcătuş concedes that victory will not come easy against opponents who have won their last two matches following a defeat at Arsenal FC on Matchday 1: "Sevilla are a very good team with skilful players who have proved their ability in recent years and in the Champions League this season. The result may depend on my team having a very good day and our opponents not, and I have no doubt our players will give everything to win our first points."

'Morale and confidence'
Steaua's campaign has been hampered by long-term injuries to Mirel Radoi, Sorin Ghionea and Mihaita Plesan, while Pawel Golański is absent with a groin injury and Eric Bicfalvi damaged his right leg in training last Friday. Lăcătuş, nevertheless, believes a success here could kick-start their season, saying: "It is an extremely important match, not only for me – because it's my first in the Champions League – but also for the players, because if the result is positive it might lift morale. If we get a good result we might play much better in the future."

Ambitious squad
Sevilla coach Manuel Jiménez replaced Juande Ramos after Matchday 3, and having presided over Saturday's 2-0 Primera División triumph over Real Madrid CF in his third game in charge, the 43-year-old is finding his feet fast. The former reserve-team boss said: "This is a different competition and Steaua are a very good team – they will be eliminated if they lose so will do everything to win, which makes the match much more difficult. But ambition characterises all our players and that has to be the case if we want to win the Champions League. It's not a vain ambition."

Injury problems
Such aspirations could be undermined by a lengthy injury list which Khalid Boulahrouz (groin), Duda (ankle), José Ángel Crespo (cheekbone) and Federico Fazio (calf) have all joined since the Madrid encounter, although Frédéric Kanouté, Andrés Palop and Ivica Dragutinović returned at the weekend. "I definitely won't risk anyone who is carrying a minor injury, and it's going to be hard to field our best team," said Jiménez. "Our defence will be the worst affected, but this is the Champions League and we have to find the best solutions."