UEFA.com works better on other browsers
For the best possible experience, we recommend using Chrome, Firefox or Microsoft Edge.

Arrasate tells La Real to just play their game

"If we play to our level, I am confident we can win," said Jagoba Arrasate ahead of Real Sociedad de Fútbol's opener against an experienced FC Shakhtar Donetsk side.

Jagoba Arrasate oversees Real Sociedad's training session on the eve of their UEFA Champions League return
Jagoba Arrasate oversees Real Sociedad's training session on the eve of their UEFA Champions League return ©AFP/Getty Images

Jagoba Arrasate is confident that if his Real Sociedad de Fútbol players play their normal game against FC Shakhtar Donetsk they have every chance of marking their return to the UEFA Champions League after a decade's absence with a victory, despite Shakhtar's greater pedigree. Rival coach Mircea Lucescu, meanwhile, is expecting a tough opening Group A assignment in San Sebastian.

La Real
Jagoba Arrasate, coach
We know we're in a group that's difficult but attractive at the same time. This game is very important, we're playing at home in what is a short group stage and we want to play a good match. And if we play to our level, I am confident we can win. They've got a lot more experience of this competition than us, starting with their coach, but we're really excited and [play-off opponents] Lyon were also more experienced than us.

Shakhtar's experience in Europe stands out. They're used to competing in the Champions League, they have a lot of quality and they're not afraid to play their game. On the one hand we have to try to negate their strengths while also playing our game to give ourselves a chance of winning. We've analysed them a lot and we know what we're up against.

They are team who go out to win games, with a defined style of play and they're not going to change. We'll be trying to impose our own style and it should be an open and attractive game.

Weekend result
Saturday: Levante UD 0-0 Real Sociedad
Bravo; Estrada, Mikel González, Iñigo Martínez, De la Bella; Xabi Prieto, Elustondo, Granero (Pardo 89), Zurutuza, Griezmann (Seferovic 66); Carlos Vela (Castro 86).

• La Real failed to score for the first time in all competitions this season though goalkeeper Claudio Bravo helped to keep Levante at bay in what was his 199th appearance for the Basque side. The draw helped Arrasate's men remain seventh in the standings. They have registered one point fewer than at the same stage last term.

Team news
Mikel González (neck) and Iñigo Martínez (thigh) returned from injury to form the central defensive partnership against Levante. Dani Estrada also reappeared and with on-loan defender José Ángel (hamstring) and striker Imanol Agirretxe (thigh tear) joining the squad for the first time this season, Arrasate goes into Tuesday's game with just one absentee of note. Full-back Carlos Martínez remains sidelined after injuring his thigh in the first leg of the play-off against Olympique Lyonnais.

Mircea Lucescu, coach
Real Sociedad are a good team – any team that play in the Spanish league as they do and qualify for the Champions League are a difficult team. They have the same players as last season and they know how to play together. They're a well-structured team, they have top-class players and they're playing at home in front of their supporters. They have great players like Griezmann, Prieto, Seferovic, Vela, Iñigo Martínez and we have to be ready for them.

Weekend result
Friday: FC Karpaty Lviv 3-2 Shakhtar (Gladkiy 8, Bartulović 51pen 61; Douglas Costa 23, Ismaily 72)
Kanibolotskiy; Kobin, Kucher, Rakitskiy, Ismaily; Stepanenko, Grechyshkin (Ilsinho 57), Douglas Costa (Eduardo 65), Alex Teixeira, Taison (Fred 73); Luiz Adriano.

• Without suspended captain Darijo Srna, Shakhtar suffered their second successive away league defeat. They are fourth in the Ukrainian Premier League, four points shy of leaders FC Metalist Kharkiv.

Team news
Lucescu explained the absence of 21-year-old Dmytro Grechyshkin by saying he wanted to call on his more experienced players for this match, which also means a start in goal for Andriy Pyatov following an arm injury. Dmytro Chygrynskiy remains sidelined with a thigh problem.

Match fact
• La Real's Carlos Vela and Shakhtar forward Eduardo were team-mates at Arsenal FC from 2008 to 2010. They played together four times in 2009/10, with the Mexican coming on to replace Eduardo on another five occasions.

Selected for you