Manuel Jimenez believes his Sevilla side will have to be at their best throughout if they are to begin their second Champions League campaign with a home win against Unirea Urziceni.
The Romanian champions have never before appeared in the competition leaving coach Dan Petrescu looking for “a miracle” tonight.
Unirea are an unknown quantity, but they are top of the table in Romania and defend well,” conceded Jimenez. “We have to play to win from the first minute. I’m glad Sevilla command respect in Europe because of what we’ve done in the past, but now we need to earn that respect again on the pitch.
“The Spanish and Romanian leagues can’t be compared, everybody knows the Liga is one of the best in the world.
“It is a pleasure for Sevilla to play in the Champions League again. Sevilla have grown a lot in recent years as eight years ago we were still playing in the second division. We will try to finish first in the group and then get to the quarter-finals to improve on what we did two years ago.
“I would be lying if I were to say I know Unirea well, but they have experienced players and their chairman wants big things. We respect them as much as we respect [group rivals] Rangers and Stuttgart.”
Petrescu, meanwhile, said that he would try and pass on his experience to the players.
“Sevilla are the group favourites; I would prefer to start with another team but it’s happened this way,” said the former Chelsea player. “It’s a very important match for our club, for my career and for the players. It will be my first time in the Champions League as coach and we know it won’t be easy because our experience is small.
“I’ll try to pass my experience in the Champions League as a player on to my team but playing is not the same as training. We’ll try everything to get a positive result; Sevilla are clearly the favourites but anything is possible in football. We will need luck.
“Sevilla played four times against Steaua Bucuresti and won every match. We can’t fear them when we go on to the pitch; we’re not here to visit Seville or change shirts after the match – although our chances are low we will try to win.
“Our team played in the second division four years ago; it is a miracle that a town of 17,000 people is playing in the Champions League now.