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Maresca thrives under pressure

Sevilla FC midfielder Enzo Maresca says he and his team-mates will gain extra motivation from the fervent atmosphere created by the Fenerbahçe SK supporters.

Fenerbahçe SK fans may create a fervent atmosphere, but that will only serve to inspire their latest UEFA Champions League opponents Sevilla FC according to the Spanish side's midfielder Enzo Maresca.

Sevilla will want to avoid the losing fate of Fenerbahçe's previous visitors in this season's competition in order to give themselves the best possible chance when they stage the return leg of this first knockout round tie on 4 March. But Maresca, who tasted defeat in Istanbul when former club Juventus went down 2-0 to Galatasaray AS in the 2003/04 group stage, is not afraid. "Fenerbahçe have very passionate fans but we are used to this sort of atmosphere and it makes us even more motivated for this crucial game," said Maresca, who turned 28 last week. "I played against Turkish opposition during my days at Juventus so I am used to the pressure from the stands."

'Historic adventure'
The Italian, a key player in Sevilla's UEFA Cup triumphs in the last two seasons, is proud to have been part of the Andalusians' impressive debut in the UEFA Champions League. "We have achieved a lot and we are determined to continue this historic adventure," he said. Maresca is even untroubled by the pitch, which was under heavy snow until Tuesday morning, arguing: "The surface is not in the best condition due to the wet grass but that's not very important – it's an obstacle for our opponents as much as it is for us."

Even so, Maresca admits that Sevilla will display caution on their first competitive trip to Turkey since visiting Eskişehirspor in the 1970/71 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, when the hosts scored three late goals to win 3-2 on aggregate. "Fenerbahçe have a lot of Brazilian players and an attacking style," Maresca said. "As we are playing away, first we will examine how they play and then during the flow of the game we will develop our strategy."

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