A day earlier than normal, Julen Lopetegui spoke to the media ahead of Sunday's trip to Villarreal: "We're approaching this match as we have to, with the excitement and responsibility of knowing we're facing a great team who reached the UCL semi finals, they had a chance of reaching the final and we'll have to be at our best to compete with them. They're one of the best teams who have competed in the UCL and LaLiga this season. We'll have to be ready and assured, and we'll have to be at a high level to compete with them".
The manager then spoke about the fact that 1100 Sevillistas will make the long journey to La Cerámica: "I'm always grateful to the fans for their support, their energy and their willingness. I hope we can make them happy. We're going there with that in mind because every match is vital and this will be a great match against a good team. They play and compete very well. We have to be capable of doing the same". Attentions then turned to the absences of Rekik, Martial and Suso: "They've not got the all clear medically, and they're not ready to play. They've trained with the team but they won't travel. Suso was close, he had a little problem but now he's on the same path as Martial and Rekik".
Lopetegui then mentioned last week's draw against Cádiz: "Every match is different. Things didn't go well last time out and we're seeing that it's difficult for everyone. Every team is treating every match as a final. We've drawn our conclusions from last week and we're preparing for this match. Villarreal will be ready after five days and we must focus on what's to come, and forget about the past. They have five days, it's not like going to Vitoria after three days. I think five days is enough to recover and compete well. Both forces will be very even".
"Every team is treating every match as a final"
"The key is doing things well at both ends of the pitch to overcome your opponent. There's a lot of things we need to develop and every opponent is different. Now we're facing a team with lots of attacking options, they know how to attack and have top-quality players and a brilliant manager". He then confirmed that nothing has changed regarding his future: "I'm not waiting for what could be said. We're at the end of the season and we have to focus on giving our all during these two weeks. There's nothing else to be said and there's no reason to lose energy. In football managers are always exposed to criticism, even when things are going well. In my head nothing's changed at all and what's really important is the match at Villarreal and going into it with the best possible mindset".
To finish, he spoke about his first Feria: "We had the club lunch and we tried to have a good time and taste what this party is like, even if it was for a short while. From then on, Sevillistas want us to keep getting them excited with the UCL and we will fight for that".