Sevilla manager Julen Lopetegui has hailed Manchester United as ‘the biggest team in the world’ ahead of their Europa League semi-final showdown on Sunday.
They reached the last-four with an 88th-minute winner from Lucas Ocampos against Wolves in Tuesday’s quarter-final, with Raul Jimenez missing a first-half penalty for the Premier League side.
As a result, Manchester United take on Sevilla this Sunday (8pm kick-off) in Cologne. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will be well aware of their impressive record in the Europa League, but Lopetegui has heaped praise on the Reds ahead of the game.
“We are going to play against Manchester United in the next match – they’re the biggest team in the world but we’re going to be prepared for them,” Lopetegui told reporters after the game last night (via Daily Mail).
“We’re focused on the next game, against a top, historic side, one of the best in the history of the sport who are in great form.
“We will give our best as we always do. To play against them will be really tough, but we’ll go into it believing we can beat them.”
The last time Sevilla won the Europa League was four years ago — beating Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool in the final. Moreover, they won the competition in three consecutive years from 2014 to 2016.
And we can’t forget about how Sevilla beat United in the last-16 of the Champions League in the 2017-18 when José Mourinho went on that bizarre ‘heritage’ rant in his post-match press conference, as per The Independent.
Lopetegui was happy with his team’s display against Wolves last night, adding: “I think we deserved the win today. The key was to chip, chip, chip away, have patience and wait until the right moment.
“I am very proud of my players because we were against a very good team. We needed to have the ball and not make mistakes because they have very fast forwards.
“We played very well against a good team. We had to be very concentrated.”