Sevilla coach Unai Emery eyes Champions League spot ahead of Europa final
Madrid, May 26 (IANS) Sevilla coach Unai Emery hopes that his side can still qualify for the Champions League by defending their Europa League title. Saturday saw Sevilla drop off from fourth place, as a late goal for Valencia in Almeria relegated them to a fifth-place finish in La Liga. But there is still hope for Emery’s side.
The side from the south of Spain has a second bite at the cherry on Wednesday as this season's Europa League champion also wins qualification for a place in the Champions League, reports Xinhua.
Sevilla will face Ukrainian outfit Dnipro in Warsaw and are favourites to retain the title they won last year. But Emery is taking nothing for granted.
"Dnipro have been the revelation in the Europa League this season as they have beaten some very important teams and if they are in the final it is because they deserve to be there. So the game is at 50 percent and we are travelling with humility and with maximum respect," he insisted.
Sevilla's achievements this season are even more impressive than last year given that the club sold key players, namely Ivan Rakitic, Federico Fazio and Alberto Moreno last summer.
But Emery has fashioned a side around striker Carlos Bacca, along with others such as Alex Vidal, Ever Banega and Vitolo, who recently enjoyed a Spain call up which have had magnificent campaigns.
"We are able to maintain the group spirit and transmit the message that we are here to compete," said Emery. "We never look too far forward. We never feel as if we are favourites and we never feel as if we are superior to anyone. We know how hard this is and we want to try and enjoy every moment. Knowing we have a final ahead of us is very nice."
The Europa League final will be held at Stadion Narodowy in Warsaw. Sevilla will start as favourites in the final after having won the title last season. But Dnipro would be no push-over themselves after having beaten Napoli in the semi-final.