Chelsea are one of the teams capable of winning this season’s Champions League, Sevilla manager Julen Lopetegui has said as reported by the Evening Standard.
The Spaniard says Frank Lampard’s men will be extremely difficult to overcome when the sides meet at Stamford Bridge tonight.
The Blues learned the hard way that the competition is filled with world-class teams when they came up against Bayern Munich last season.
The Germans dominated both legs in the round of 16, winning 3-0 in London and 4-1 at the Allianz Arena before going on to lift the trophy in Lisbon.
Europa League serial winners
Sevilla were, however, also successful in Europe last time out. They defeated Inter Milan 3-2 in the Europa League final in Cologne, with Lopetegui edging past former Chelsea boss Antonio Conte.
The Spanish club holds the record for the most titles won in the competition, having lifted the Europa League trophy six times.
But the Sevilla manager is well aware tonight’s Chelsea team will be a different test entirely.
“We are up against one of the teams that could win the title in Chelsea but we want to focus on performing well – that’s all we can do,” Lopetegui said.
“I think it’s going to be a tough ask. Every match is difficult, but especially in the Champions League against a team like Chelsea.”
Pressure on new boys to perform
Lampard certainly hasn’t been shy in spending big to improve his squad, with Germans Kai Havertz and Timo Werner arriving for huge sums in the summer.
Defender Ben Chilwell and winger Hakim Ziyech have also joined the ranks from Leicester and Ajax respectively, with goalkeeper Edouard Mendy the latest recruit.
“Chelsea have bought some good players, invested a lot of money. It’s a great squad and a coach (who) knows the club inside-out,” added Lopetegui.
“They are extraordinarily strong opposition. Chelsea have some fantastic, top players (and) they are going to force us to be at our very best.”
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