Timothee Kolodziejczak says Sevilla are in enthusiastic mood ahead of a UEFA Europa League semi-final with Fiorentina that he believes pits the two tournament favourites against each other.
Sevilla host the Serie A club at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan in the first leg on Thursday as they look to take another step towards retaining the trophy.
The Andalusians are bidding to become the first team to win the competition four times yet, despite their pedigree in the tournament, Kolodziejczak is expecting a tough tie against Vincenzo Montella’s men.
Sevilla head into the game still harbouring hopes of a top-four berth in La Liga and having produced a valiant performance in last weekend’s 3-2 home defeat to Real Madrid.
“It’s a very important match for the people, for us, and we have to be able to get a victory,” Kolodziejczak told Sevilla’s official website.
“We have great enthusiasm. Fiorentina is a very difficult team. It will be a very hard match.
“Favourites? We are the two favourites. All teams who reach the semi-finals have the same options.
“The fans in the last match against Real Madrid encouraged us very much. I think that we will need them on Thursday.”
Fiorentina, by contrast, have been in poor form in the league, although they did bring a four-game losing run in Serie A to an end with a 3-1 victory over second-bottom Cesena on Sunday.
UEFA Champions League football via the league is effectively out of Fiorentina’s reach, but coach Montella remains in hope of gaining qualification through winning the Europa League after their weekend triumph.
“This victory will boost morale and self-confidence,” Montella told Mediaset Premium.
“We wanted the win to get back fifth place and now our minds can go to Sevilla for Thursday’s Europa League semi-final.
“I watched Sevilla play Real Madrid yesterday [Saturday] and they are a very well-constructed team. We really wanted this success to get us in the best headspace for the semi-final.
“Sevilla are a tough side who defend with good organisation and know how to attack. We will play to win.”
But, given Sevilla’s 34-game unbeaten run at home before their defeat to the Champions League holders, Unai Emery’s side seem more suited to top-level European competition and it promises to be a tall order for Fiorentina – finalists in 1990 – to dethrone them.
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