‘We can go to the desert or anywhere because we feel strong’: Granada boss Diego Martinez urges his side to ‘make the most of the moment’ ahead of quarter-final against Manchester United in fairy-tale Europa League campaign
- Granada hosted semi-professional football at their ground as recently as 2010
- Now they are looking to write another chapter in a fairy-tale Europa League run
- Granada have already knocked out Serie A side Napoli and Molde this season
- Diego Martinez wants them to upset the odds once more against Man United
Granada have gone from the Spanish second tier to a first European quarter-final in just two years, with boss Diego Martinez calling on his players to write another remarkable chapter in their fairy-tale against Manchester United.
Having hosted semi-professional football as recently as 2010, the Estadio Municipal Nuevo Los Carmenes will welcome the 20-time English champions in the Europa League quarter-final first leg on Thursday.
Granada have already knocked out Serie A side Napoli and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s former club Molde during their first ever European campaign, which they qualified for by finishing seventh in LaLiga last term.
Granada boss Diego Martinez has called on his players to write another remarkable chapter in their fairy-tale against Manchester United
Granada welcome Manchester United in their Europa League quarter-final first leg on Thursday
This feat is made all the more impressive by the fact they were only promoted from the Segunda Division at the end of the 2018/19 season, with Martinez calling for his players to upset the odds once more.
‘We respect every team and we’re not going to find out right now what United is,’ he said. ‘It’s a giant in Europe, it’s an amazing team.
‘But if we are in the quarter-finals and we’re facing them it’s because we’ve done many good things.
‘We’re going to play 180 minutes, plus injury-time, and we believe in our possibilities.
‘Last year we were candidates, one, two or three to be back in the second division and we ended up in Europe.
Granada have already knocked out Serie A side Napoli and Molde in Europe this season
‘There’s a sentence in our dressing room ”they didn’t know it’s impossible so they did it” so this is what we try to think of.
‘We are very proud of the people we have here because with this we can go anywhere.
‘We can go to the desert or anywhere because we feel strong, we want to make the most of the moment and this is something that makes us grow in itself.’
The stunning Andalusian city is decked in red and white as the club looks ahead to one of their biggest occasions, just days after celebrating their 90th anniversary.
‘It’s very stimulating, very rewarding to be in a match like this one not only because we are in the quarter-finals of the Europa League, but also the game itself, the match itself,’ boss Martinez said.
Now Martinez has called for his players to upset the odds once more against the Red Devils
‘We of course want to give our perfect game – the match of our lives. This is what we need to win. This is what we have to focus on.’
Granada defender Domingos Duarte – a Portugal team-mate of United star Bruno Fernandes – intends to display that faith and focus on the pitch.
‘We know what we have to do,’ he said. ‘We know what we have to do to face those forwards of Manchester, which are very quick.
‘But the most important thing is that we go at our highest performance, believing in ourselves.
‘We know it’s difficult but what matters is ourselves and the focus is always on ourselves. This is what we have to do.’
Granada defender Domingos Duarte (centre) will face Portugal team-mate Bruno Fernandes (right)