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Emery not distracted by Zenit absences

Sevilla will approach Thursday’s UEFA Europa League tie against Zenit with caution, even though the Russian Premier League leaders look set to be depleted.

The sides meet in the first leg of their quarter-final at the Estadio Sanchez Pizjuan, when Andre-Villas-Boas without the suspended quartet of Domenico Criscito, Danny, Hulk and Igor Smolnikov.

Viktor Fayzulin is also doubtful with a knee problem, but former Spartak Moscow coach Emery warned his defending champions of the quality Zenit still have at their disposal.

“It’s true that they have key players missing, but we’re playing against a team with huge international experience,” the Spaniard said.

“Just because they have a few players out doesn’t mean things will be easier for us. They’ll give us a battle for the full 180 minutes of the tie.

“My thoughts have to go into the general sense of what Zenit are – a great team with great players, leaders of the Russian league with significant international experience.

“Sevilla are the reigning champions, but Zenit are champions of the Russian league and have the experience of champions.

“We will go into the game with a level playing field and I think it will be a very open and contested tie.

“Things have changed since I managed Spartak. They have a new coach and very few players remain from my time as a coach there.

“Zenit are a huge team, Russian champions and recent signings have only made them stronger.”

Sevilla have lost just once in the Europa League this season, having lifted the trophy in May following a victory on penalties against Benfica.

Wed 15 Apr, 2015
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