Sevilla manager Julen Lopetegui has hailed Europa League semi-final opponents Manchester United as ‘the biggest team in the world’ ahead of their last-four showdown on Sunday.
An 88th-minute winner from Lucas Ocampos sneaked Sevilla over the line against Wolves in Tuesday’s quarter-final, with Raul Jimenez missing a first-half penalty for the Premier League side.
Nevertheless, Sevilla – whose record in the Europa League is incredibly impressive, having won the competition three times in a row between 2014-2016 – will come up against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side on Sunday in Cologne, and Lopetegui did not underestimate the scale and reach of their English opponents.
‘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.
‘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.’
Sevilla won the competition in three straight years from 2014 to 2016, with their last victory coming against Liverpool in the final four years ago.
The LaLiga side also beat United in the last-16 of the Champions League in the 2017-18 season, winning 2-1 at Old Trafford, so will not lack confidence heading into the last-four clash against the Premier League side.
On the late Wolves victory though, the Sevilla gaffer added: ‘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.’