Every player wants to play matches like this one
AC Sparta Prague is starting its journey in the group stage of UEFA Europa League tonight in Copenhagen against Brøndby IF. This team won the Danish Superliga last year. The press conference took place a day before the game. Questions, on Sparta's side, were answered by head coach Pavel Vrba and defender Dávid Hancko.
About the strength of the team in comparison to the last year: “I think we are in a different situation now and our team has stepped up. We definitely want to fight for the best results, but everything will be shown at the pitch.”
About the higher experience with the group stage of European cups: “Brøndby is a difficult opponent. They have their quality and we have respect before them. It is good that even our youngest players have already experienced Europe League last year. I believe that we are in front of our Brøndby, but we will see it on the pitch.”
About the importance of the first game in the group stage: „There are four teams in our group and every single match will be important. It will be positive for us if we start with a good result. It can help us also for the next games. It will be great to bring some points from here, ideally to win a game.“
About the importance of the games against Brøndby for the spring legs of European cups: “We don’t look at it in this way. We follow all our opponents and we want to be ready for each game and fight for winning. It doesn’t always work but we always do our best to reach it. But yes, two-legged tie against this team will be very important.”
About the weaker form of Brøndby “It is very difficult to say if it is an advantage or not. They will definitely try to break it against us, but we are not looking at that. This team won a title last year, so they must have quality. Brøndby lost some of the key players after last season but it is anyway a team with European parameters. It is not going to be an easy game but we are going to focus on our play.”
HEAD COACH PAVEL VRBA
About what to expect from Brøndby: “They played with various systems during this season, especially 3-5-2 or 4-4-2. I am curious about which system they will play against us. They did not have the best results recently and they started to play often with 4-4-2.”
About the strengths and weaknesses of this opponent: “I have seen them in a few games. It is a team that is not in an optimal situation. On the other hand, they showed their quality in a game against Midtjylland. They won 2-0, while they did not dominate during the match but they played consequentially and patiently. They scored two goals. Our game is going to be similar to that one.“
About the changes in the line-up: “There will definitely be some changes, some players maybe just change a position. We will not play in the same line-up as in Pilsen. But I will definitely not tell you the line-up now”
About Bořek Dočkal: “Bořek trains with us three days without limits. We took him because he is a player who means a lot to the team not only on the field, but also off it. We will see whether he will play the match.It will be a lot about discussing with him.
About Ondřej Čelůstka: “He is one hundred percent read for the match”
About away matches: “It's a difference. We played two games against and it was about being up or down. We have six matches now. There will be a gap of three months between away and home matches. The group has a clear top team and that is Lyon. Then there are three teams that will fight for the second position. What we lose at the beginning will be hard to catch in the end. We want to get points wherever we can.