Europa League: Celta Vigo eye famous upset against injury-hit Manchester United
Celta Vigo will be looking to take a big step towards winning their first ever European title when they face Manchester United in their Europa League semifinal encounter.football Updated: May 03, 2017 18:35 IST
Celta Vigo are confident that 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 Manchester 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 on Thursday.
“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 Copa (King’s Cup), we’ve beaten Atletico Madrid. We’ve shown that we are a good team.”
Celta Vigo, who are currently 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 Fosu-Mensah.
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 Spanish playmaker Juan Mata warned his team mates 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.
First Published: May 03, 2017 18:35 IST