Dubai: Sevilla manager Julen Lopetegui hailed Manchester United, the club’s next opponents in the Europa League semi-finals, as “the biggest team in the world”.
The Spanish team registered a 1-0 win over Wolves in the quarter-final of Europa League here on Tuesday while Shakhtar Donetsk thumped Basel 4-1 to join them in the last four. The Ukrainian side take on Inter Milan on Monday in another intriguing tie.
“We’re focused on the next game, against a top, historic side, one of the best in the history of the sport who are in great form,” he added.
Lopetegui said: “We will give our best as we always do. To play against them will be really tough, but we’ll go into it believing we can beat them.”
The manager is also impressed with the way his team played against Wolves in the quarter-final.
“I think we deserved the win today. The key was to chip, chip, chip away, have patience and wait until the right moment. I am very proud of my players because we were against a very good team. We needed to have the ball and not make mistakes because they have very fast forwards,” Lopetegui said.
Sevilla dominated their English opponents over the course of the match, as a tired-looking Wolves’ dreams of European glory ended with a whimper.
'Proud of my players'
“I am very proud of my players. We needed to have lots of patience against a very good team,” said Lopetegui.
Premier League outfit Wolves thought they were set to make the perfect start in the 11th minute when Adam Traore set off on a sensational surge towards goal from his own half and was chopped down in the area by Diego Carlos.
However Raul Jimenez, who had scored all of his previous eight penalties for Wolves, sent a weak spot-kick towards Yassine Bounou, who could hardly believe his luck as he batted the Mexican’s tame shot aside.
There were claims that Bounou had left his line while Sevilla players seemed to enter the area before the penalty was taken, but in any case that was to be Wolves’ last shot on target of the match as chances became hard to come by.
Sevilla though began to take a stranglehold on the play and force Wolves back into their own half.
However, they struggled to carve out many clear-cut opportunities, with Wolves’ defence managing to snuff out their opponents when they did manage to break free.