Carlos Bacca tells UEFA.com how he has changed his game since coming to Sevilla FC, and says he still has a soft spot for fellow quarter-finalists Club Brugge KV.
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Among the scorers as Sevilla FC beat SL Benfica on penalties in last season's UEFA Europa League final, Colombian forward Carlos Bacca has lost none of his hunger for success in the competition. Last week's equaliser at home to FC Zenit helped the Spanish side to an eventual 2-1 win. Going into Thursday's second leg, the dream of more glory and a meeting with his old side, Club Brugge KV, is still on the cards.
UEFA.com: How are you enjoying defending the UEFA Europa League title?
Carlos Bacca: With Sevilla having it won three times, there is a lot of excitement about playing in it. But we don't want to just play in it – we want to become champions. It's not easy, we know that, but the Europa League is a competition that Sevilla and the Sevilla fans like a lot.
UEFA.com: Has your game changed much under Unai Emery?
Bacca: Emery is a very demanding coach, who never lets you relax and always tries to get your peak performance from you – and that has been reflected in my performances. There are qualities which I have added to my game, like defending more, helping the team more.
At my previous clubs, my role was more about scoring, but at Sevilla I have a defensive job to do as well. Sometimes other teams can get on top of you, but by defending you can get better chances to attack, and Emery has showed us that.
I am involved in the game more now; I play more at the back, find space better and get more chances in front of goal.
UEFA.com: Your old side, Club Brugge, are still in the UEFA Europa League. How do you rate them?
Bacca: When I played in Bruges, the thing that was missing was the mentality, but the players who I played with there tell me the mentality has changed a lot, and I think that has made the difference. They've won this season's Belgian Cup for a reason, they are top of the league for a reason, and there's also a reason why they're in the quarter-finals of the Europa League.
Hopefully we'll get past Zenit and Club Brugge will get to the next round too, and then we'd face them sooner or later. I would like to go back to the Jan Breydelstadion and feel the affection of the Club Brugge fans and win. It would be something special to face them.