Manchester United face Sevilla tonight in the Europa League semi-final and there has been plenty of talk about how United will approach the game in the press and on social media.
But what do the Spanish expect from tonight’s match? We looked at reports from the local Seville press to get an inside look at the mood and expectations going in.
‘Lopetegui’s troops must climb an authentic mountain to repeat their feat in Cologne,’ Diario de Sevilla reporter Francisco José Ortega writes.
‘Sevilla are facing a Manchester United squad with world prestige, one of the most revenue-generating teams in the entire universe.
‘That is the new mountain, a true ‘eight thousand’ [referring to Everest’s 8,800m height], which Julen Lopetegui’s troops have to climb in these vibrant final rounds of the Europa League.
‘But raise your hand to the Sevilla player who is not proud that they start in the forecasts at the same height, at least, as such a football giant.
‘Because in the opinion of all football men, let’s call it that, this semi-final between Sevilla and United is a dead heat, that is, there is no clear candidate for victory before German Felix Brych gives the order for the ball to roll.’
The Spanish report has a clear tone of pride and excitement at the prospect of facing the Red Devils, in particular the fact that they are considered equal favourites despite the difference in squad values.
‘The Transfermarkt value for the United squad is €762.68 million, more than double the 338 of Sevilla,’ Ortega continues.
‘That, logically, is already a triumph for this Sevilla team, because never forget the universal distance between one entity and another in terms of income and the budgets with which they are managed.
‘The mere fact of not being considered inferior to United in terms of betting odds is already a source of pride for Sevilla fans.’
If the report indeed reflects the mood of Sevilla fans, they are nothing less than cock-a-hoop going into the game.
‘Julen Lopetegui and his troops will be ready at nine o’clock [CET] tonight at the Cologne stadium intent on prolonging their extraordinary streak of 19 official matches without losing … achieved thanks to the magnificent performance of a group of footballers that has left fans with their chests completely swollen every time they see them fight against everyone and everything.’
The reporter then goes on to discuss how Sevilla are likely to approach the tie from a tactical point of view.
‘Sevilla will start with the intention of being solid again, with the desire to protect [goalkeeper] Bono and also use their weapons in attack to try to beat Romero.
‘This English side is characterized by attacking and Sevilla must take advantage of the spaces created.
‘This means that Lopetegui, something rare in his career as the head of Sevilla, perhaps unprecedented, could repeat the same eleven for the third time in a row.’
The report’s predicted Sevilla side to face United is therefore a 4-3-3:
Jesus Navas – Koundé – Diego Carlos – Reguilón;
Fernando – Banega – Joan Jordan;
Suso – Ocampos – El Nesyri.
Kick-off is at 8pm (WET) and the match will be shown on BT Sports in the UK.
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