Zenit v Sevilla preview

André Villas-Boas believes the return of four key players could make the difference as FC Zenit bid to turn round a 2-1 away defeat against holders Sevilla FC.

Zenit coach André Villas-Boas addresses the media
Zenit coach André Villas-Boas addresses the media ©AFP/Getty Images

André Villas-Boas banking on Zenit's returning players
• Sevilla are 12 games unbeaten, including last week's 2-1 comeback victory
• Two banned for Zenit; Hulk, Danny, Igor Smolnikov, Domenico Criscito back from suspension
• Sevilla won this competition all three previous times they reached the quarters
• The semi-final draw takes place at 12.00CET on Friday, streamed live here

Possible lineups
Zenit: Lodygin; Smolnikov; Anyukov, Neto, Lombaerts, Criscito; Shatov, Javi Garcia, Witsel, Danny; Hulk.
Out: Fayzulin (knee), Mogilevets (knee), Garay (suspended), Ryazantsev (suspended)

Sevilla: Sergio Rico; Coke, Pareja, Carriço, Trémoulinas; Krychowiak, Iborra, Vidal, Banega, Vitolo; Bacca.
Out: Barbosa (thigh), Cristóforo (knee)
Doubtful: Carriço (hamstring)

André Villas-Boas, Zenit coach
For any coach, unavailable players is a problem. Ryazantsev and Garay will not play, but on the other hand Danny, Hulk, Smolnikov and Criscito be able to take part. It's important that we want to win; we understand the significance of this game. We will give our very best as we're eager to reach the semi-finals.

I don't want to talk about Sevilla's weak points – enough to say we're studying the enemy. We will play attacking football based on the fact our key players have returned, but we're not going to forget about defence because Sevilla famously play on the front foot. Hulk is a top-class player who can operate on the wing or in the centre of the attack. Tomorrow we will make a decision about our top scorer.

Sevilla play the same way in the Spanish Liga and the Europa League. They play emotional, creative football and have deserved their success. This is a very strong tournament, and spirit and motivation will be a very important factor. Sevilla have a home win but we have an away goal and four players who were unavailable last week. This will be an outstanding match.

Unai Emery, Sevilla coach
We play to win in every competition. The Europa League is very important for us. We don't think about which tournament is more important, we think about winning the next match.

First of all the result is important. Then we'll think about how we get there – we may need extra time and penalties. We are getting ready for the game taking into account all possible scenarios. Zenit are a very strong side with great players. They're a big, experienced team with a great coach. Criscito, Hulk and Danny are quality players. This will be a different game, we're ready for it and we'll try to answer Zenit with our trump cards.

In the first half of the first leg Zenit were like a fortress, they played well defensively. I am really pleased we got back in the game in the second half. This is another match: there will be other players involved, Zenit need to score a goal, we also need to act differently and be ready for anything. We're ready for the fans to put us under pressure. We know how to overcome this, it spurs us on.

Six of the best knockout ties
Six of the best knockout ties

Weekend results
FC Kuban Krasnodar 0-0 Zenit
Granada CF 1-1 Sevilla (Mainz 16; Mainz og 69)

Form guide (all competitions, most recent first)
Zenit: DLDWWW
Sevilla: DWDWWW

Match fact
Zenit are the only side of the eight that entered the UEFA Europa League round of 32 from this season's UEFA Champions League group stage to have made it this far. Find out more in our extensive match background.

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