Shropshire Star

Legia Warsaw boss says Aston Villa should have high Conference League ambitions

Legia Warsaw boss Kosta Runjaic has declared Thursday’s match “David versus Goliath” and claimed Villa should have ambitions to win the Europa Conference League.

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But the German head coach and his captain, Portuguese midfielder Josue Pesqueira, have both warned Unai Emery’s team not to expect things all their own way in Poland tonight.

Legia have recent history of surprising English opponents after beating Leicester in the Europa League two seasons ago. Villa are back in Europe after a 13-year absence but in Emery have a coach who has won four Europa League titles.

Runjaic said: “If you take a look at the market value of the team, they belong among the favourites for this competition. It should be their ambition and would be my approach if I was in the place of Unai Emery.

“He has the experience of this level and I am sure they have the quality of player. Why not try to get into the final?

“Tomorrow’s match is like David versus Goliath. There is big money on the one side and the motivation and will to show the best of this team on the other. I am very excited for the game.”

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The sense in Poland is Legia are playing with house money having come through three qualifying rounds to achieve their main aim for the competition of making the group stage.

Pesqueira, part of the team who stunned Leicester, referenced the difference in costs of the respective squad with a self-deprecating stat, smiling: “They have players, like Diaby, who are valued at £50million - I am £800,000 so you can imagine what a big difference that is.”

He continued: “But in the end it will be 11v11 on the pitch and we will do everything we can to win the game. We know we are not favourites but believe me, we will show spirit and we will fight and do everything in our power for this club to make history again.

“We will leave nothing in the dressing room - everything we have we will leave on the pitch.”