Paulo Fonseca is predicting a “very difficult” Europa League quarter-final for his Braga side against Shakhtar Donetsk.
And while the 43-year-old has hopes of progressing to the last four, he acknowledges that Thursday’s visitors Shakhtar are one of the tournament favourites.
The Ukrainian side have won both of their Europa League away legs since dropping down from the Champions League, leading Fonseca to heap praise on the 2009 champions.
“It will certainly be a very difficult game against a great team with a lot of experience,” he said.
“With nine appearances in the last 10 editions of the Champions League, Shakhtar is a high quality team, especially in attack, with very virtuous players.
“To attest to this, just check who scored three goals in Madrid, which is not easy. They are one of the main candidates to win this Europa League.
“It will be very difficult, but, again, I say that nothing is impossible.”
In order to go through, the Portuguese outfit will have to bounce back from a humiliating 5-1 defeat at Benfica, but Fonseca believes his squad have the character to do exactly that.
And his side will draw on a similar experience prior to the previous round.
“Fortunately, I have a strong group who know how to distinguish things, and the criticism was unanimous in saying that the result did not correspond to what happened on the field,” he said.
“Moreover, we also lost to Belenenses before the match with Fenerbahce and that did not stop us from moving forward.”
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