Sevilla coach Julen Lopetegui ready for ‘different’ Europa League challenge
Sevilla may be record five-time winners but this season’s Europa League finale is uncharted territory even for them.
Nevertheless, coach Julen Lopetegui is confident his side are ready for the post-pandemic ‘final-eight’ format, starting with Tuesday night’s quarter-final against Wolves in Duisburg.
Instead of two-legged knockout ties, Europa League specialists Sevilla will have to negotiate three one-off matches in 11 days if they are to land a sixth title.
“It’s a different type of competition to how it’s been played before,” Lopetegui said at a press conference.
“But it is a competition which will ask the same kind of questions that we have been asked all season – to play to the maximum of our abilities.”
Nuno Espirito Santo’s side will be facing a team in form with Sevilla unbeaten in 11 matches since the restart. They finished fourth in La Liga to qualify for the Champions League next season.
Wolves will be unfamiliar opponents, having not reached a European semi-final since 1972, but Lopetegui is well aware of the threat posed by the Premier League team.
“As you’d expect, they will demand that we play a great game,” he added.
“We need to think about ourselves, in how we’ll face up to them and use our strengths.
“They are a really tough opponent who will worry us and will ask a lot of us. It will be a really even game and both sides will push each other to the limit.
“We come into the game really up for it, focused on the job at hand.”