Bayer Leverkusen coach Roger Schmidt is demanding consistency from his team as they look to turn around a 2-0 deficit in the home leg of their Europa League last-16 clash with Villarreal.
Cedric Bakambu struck twice at El Madrigal last week to send Leverkusen back to Germany on the back foot.
Schmidt’s side bounced back at the weekend with a 1-0 victory over Hamburg, but they have won just one of their last five fixtures in all competitions and the beleaguered head coach admits things are not going Leverkusen’s way at the moment.
He refuses to throw in the towel, though, and has urged his team to show what they are made of against Villarreal.
“We are going through a difficult spell,” Schmidt was quoted as saying by Bild.
“But that does not mean we should all of a sudden start questioning everything we do.
“It is crucial to have a professional attitude if we are to be successful.
“We have to be more consistent and always play at a high level.”
Leverkusen will have to make do without the services of Tin Jedvaj due to suspension, while Charles Aranguiz (foot) Sebastian Boenisch (thigh), Roberto Hilbert (shoulder), Kevin Kampl (calf), Lars Bender (thigh) and Omer Toprak (thigh) are all unlikely to feature due to injury.
Villarreal midfielder Tomas Pina, meanwhile, has stressed the tie is not over just yet and the Liga side cannot afford to get carried away.
“We are only thinking about surviving this stage. A tough opponent awaits in a difficult stadium and qualifying for the next round would be a huge boost,” Pina told the official Villarreal website.
“The result from the first leg is not favourable enough to be confident of progress. We have to work hard and prevent them from getting back into the tie. We cannot allow them to score first.
“But we are convinced we can make it to the next round.”
However, Villarreal coach Marcelino will be without Jonathan Dos Santos (hamstring), Jaume Costa (ankle), Mateo Musacchio (hamstring) and Samu (foot) due to physical problems.
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