Span­ish side eye scalp of in­jury-rav­aged Man United

New Straits Times - - Sport -

CELTA Vigo are con­fi­dent they have the men­tal strength to up­set an in­jury-hit Manch­ester United in the Europa League semi-fi­nals, ac­cord­ing to the Span­ish side’s striker John Guidetti.

The Gali­cian club have never won a ma­jor Euro­pean tro­phy while United have lifted the Euro­pean Cup three times.

“I think with the men­tal­ity we’ve built here, noth­ing is im­pos­si­ble,” Swede Guidetti, a for­mer Manch­ester City player, told UEFA ahead of the first leg in Spain to­day.

“We may be a small club and a team that oth­ers don’t take much no­tice of, but we also know how good we are.

“That’s why we’ve beaten Barcelona two years in a row. We knocked Real Madrid out of the King’s Cup, we’ve beaten Atletico Madrid. We’ve shown that we are a good team.”

Celta Vigo, 11th in La Liga, lost 3-0 to Ath­letic Bil­bao on Sun­day but coach Ed­uardo Ber­izzo rested sev­eral play­ers in­clud­ing lead­ing striker Iago As­pas.

Manch­ester United come into the game bat­tling a slew of in­juries.

De­fend­ers Eric Bailly and Luke Shaw went off in the 1-1 draw with Swansea on Sun­day, join­ing an in­jury list that also in­cludes Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Mar­cos Rojo and Ti­mothy Fo­suMen­sah.

France mid­fielder Paul Pogba is fit to return after in­jury.

Fifth in the English top flight, United are at risk of miss­ing out on a Cham­pi­ons League place for next sea­son and their only hope of play­ing in the com­pe­ti­tion might be win­ning the Europa League, a tro­phy they have never lifted be­fore.

But Spa­niard Mata warned his team­mates that see­ing off Ber­izzo’s team will not be easy.

“They are one of the teams that play bet­ter foot­ball in Spain, and not only this sea­son,” Mata said.

“Be­ing back home in Spain will be spe­cial for me but dif­fi­cult at the same time. We must per­form at our best in or­der to beat them.”

United are look­ing to join an elite group of clubs who have won the Cham­pi­ons League (for­merly Euro­pean Cup), the Euro­pean Cup Winners’ Cup, and the Europa League (for­merly UEFA Cup).

Ajax, who face Olympique Ly­on­nais in the other semi-fi­nal, Chelsea, Bay­ern Mu­nich and Ju­ven­tus are the other sides who have achieved the feat. Reuters

We may be a small club and a team that oth­ers don’t take much no­tice of, but we also know how good we are.

JOHN GUIDETTI Celta Vigo striker

(From left) Celta Vigo's John Guidetti, Daniel Wass and Sergi Gomez at a train­ing session for the Europa League semi-fi­nal against Manch­ester United to­day.

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