Belfast Telegraph

Liverpool v Sevilla Europa League final: Emery challenging reigning champions to secure an historic treble

By Carl Markham

Sevilla coach Unai Emery has urged his players to create history by winning the Europa League for the third successive time.

No club in the history of European competition has achieved that particular treble but despite back-to-back victories they go into the final in Basel with opponents Liverpool the favourites.

That small fact matters little to Emery.

"Every time football gives you an opportunity you have to seize it and to write history you have to live in the present," he said.

"We want to relive it and experience it again. We want to grow, be demanding and give everything all the time.

"This is an opportunity to play in a third final and win it to change history and to have our names recorded forever and ever is very motivating.

"We are winners, we are the champions and we have the possibility to defend our title. Sevilla do not fail when we are focused."

That does not mean Emery is under-estimating Liverpool - or their huge travelling support.

The holders will be outnumbered off the pitch with more than twice as many Reds fans expected to pack into St Jakob-Park than their Spanish counterparts, who returned 2,000 tickets after selling just 7,000.

"Liverpool are among the 10 best teams in the world," he added. "They are pure football, real football, they have a great history - they have won five European Cups, won the Uefa Cup and leagues in England.

"The team has changed a little bit with a new coach (Jurgen Klopp) but it is a team with great players. It is a happy team.

"We are not really worried by the fact that there might be more Liverpool fans in the stadium.

"It doesn't really matter. We know Sevilla fans regard the club as their second wife.

"We need to feel the support of those who are here and feel and remember those who have not been able to travel but will follow what we do from home."

There is a very likely prospect that hundreds of Liverpool fans will be interspersed with Sevilla supporters as they have been busy snapping up tickets intended for the Spaniards.

Emery urged both sets of supporters to enjoy the occasion.

"This is a game, it is something very serious for the players but the fans are there to enjoy the game," he said. "They need to have fun and shouldn't forget that. Please don't forget football is there to be enjoyed and don't show anger or fight."

Emery was asked how he and Klopp, both animated characters, would handle each other on the touchline.

"I spoke to Klopp and asked if we were going to fight - and then we were shadow boxing," said the Sevilla coach.

Defender Coke insists expectation does not weigh heavy on the players and they are not complacent. But having been in this position twice already, they are determined to enjoy it.

"You never get tired of winning," he said. "Of course it is an advantage we have experience in this competition, that is why we expect this experience to help us.

"We know it is a very important situation for us, it is the third time we are playing the final and we know this is an historic moment for us.

"Everything goes very quickly but I hope to be able to focus on the match and that is the only thing we want to think about."

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph