Press conference

‘Moreno is the best striker in Spain right now’

Pablo Mari is well aware of the challenge we’re facing against Villarreal in the Europa League semi-finals - and says we will have to keep the “best striker in Spain” quiet.

Gerard Moreno has scored 26 goals in all competitions, and his partnership with Paco Alcacer has proved to be hugely effective domestically and in Europe.

“I think we are up against one of the best strike partnerships in Spain perhaps,” Mari said. “I think they are both in great form at the moment so it will be tough.

“Gerard Moreno is doing fantastically, I think he's the best striker in Spain at the moment. Paco is doing great work too. They are different players, they both have their own attributes and we are going to be very alert to their movement and their playing style.

“But at the same time I think we have some great things going on for us too. I am expecting it to be a tough game, I am sure they will do everything they can to score goals so we need to be on guard.”

Mari has admired the progress that Villarreal have made over recent years, and expects a major examination over the two legs against them.

“First of all we know how important the game is tomorrow, we know who we are up against, Villarreal have been doing great things for a long time now,” he said.

“The coach, the club, they are all in a very good place right now. Let's not forget that they have a very strong squad with international players, they have a world champion in their ranks too, we are aware of that but at the same time we are aware of who we are and the team we have.

“In my eyes, it will be a fascinating game to watch but we need to remember it is not a 90-minute game, it is a 180-minute tie and I think the team that manages those 180 minutes the best is the one that will get through to the final.”

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