Unai Emery has told Sevilla to show no fear and embrace their chance at history when they face Dnipro in Wednesday’s UEFA Europa League final.
Emery led Sevilla to glory in last season’s Europa showpiece in a 4-2 penalty shootout victory over Benfica at the Juventus Stadium – the club’s third triumph in Europe’s secondary competition.
No team has ever won on four occasions, giving the Liga side the perfect chance to etch their name into the history books against Ukrainian Premier League outfit Dnipro at Stadion Narodowy in Warsaw.
“We can’t deny that we have the chance to write history. Of course we are grateful to have that chance, to be able to pursue this,” Emery told UEFA.com.
“We are aiming to achieve something with this team, with Sevilla. It shouldn’t feel like pressure or stop us from executing our game plan against Dnipro. It will serve more as motivation, like a dream we can achieve.”
Both Sevilla and Dnipro have extra incentive as, for the first time, the Europa League winners will earn a spot in next season’s Champions League.
It means Sevilla have a second chance to reach Europe’s top table having missed out via their Liga placing by finishing a point below fourth-placed Valencia.
Emery has done a fine job considering he has lost the likes of Ivan Rakitic, Alberto Moreno and Federico Fazio from last season’s side, but he is fully aware of the threat posed by Dnipro considering the calibre of opponent they have beaten in this season’s tournament.
“The fact the winners now qualify directly for the Champions League has made it grow even more. Teams have attached more importance to this competition,” Emery added.
“Dnipro have been the revelation of this year’s Europa League because they’ve knocked out some top teams on the way. Teams that are historically much bigger than Dnipro.
“If they knocked out Olympiacos, Ajax, Club Brugge and Napoli – who were favourites after eliminating Wolfsburg – and reached the final, it’s because they deserved it.”
Dnipro have been the surprise package of this year’s Europa League and are contesting a UEFA final for the first time in their history.
Myron Markevych’s side showed their mettle for the big occasion by knocking out Napoli in the semi-finals.
Moreover, Dnipro head into the contest with a morale boosting 3-2 victory over Shakhtar Donetsk – the 2009 Europa League winners.
Dnipro will have to make do without Serhiy Kravchenko (knock) and Roman Zozulya (knee), while Sevilla have a doubt over Dani Parejo (knee).
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