Vicente Iborra fires Unai Emery warning and explains how Aston Villa can overcome Olympiacos

Vicente Iborra spoke to the media ahead of Olympiacos' clash with Aston Villa
Vicente Iborra spoke to the media ahead of Olympiacos' clash with Aston Villa -Credit:Photo by James Baylis - AMA/Getty Images

Only one player has made more appearances under Unai Emery - or likely been in more tactical meetings with the Spaniard - than Olympiacos midfielder Vicente Iborra.

The 36-year-old midfield veteran played a total of 171 games under Emery across spells at Sevilla and Villarreal, with only Ever Banega featuring more times for the current Aston Villa head coach in his glittering career. In fact, Iborra was even present in each of Emery's squads to have won the UEFA Europa League title, three times with Sevilla and once with Villarreal having reunited with him following a spell at Leicester City.

His experience has been key for Olympiacos during their turnaround under Jose Luis Mendilibar, who won the Europa League with Sevilla last season, but Iborra claims what he himself has won in the past will have little bearing on Thursday night's Europa Conference League semi-final second leg against Villa.

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"It means nothing to win things in the past," he claimed. "It is very important to win this trophy. It is the first time for the club to go this far and I want to celebrate with everyone. We have to use passion, desire and the thirst to add to our history. We want to celebrate with them [the fans]."

Olympiacos host Villa at the Karaiskakis Stadium with a two-goal advantage having won the first leg 4-2 at Villa Park last week. Iborra insists that Emery will have full belief that his players are fully capable of going through to the final despite their uphill task.

"How he boosts his team will be his main thing," Iborra said of Emery. "You need little help to get motivated for a European semi-final. He will mainly emphasise on breaking details down and making sure everything is under control.

"He will convert his plan and anticipate what will happen in the match. Tactics will be the focal point, not just to boost their mood and give them incentives. Himself and his staff break the details down and they will do this to prepare for tomorrow. They will have to try a bit more because of the first leg result. Emery will concentrate most of his time on tactics.

"We don’t know how they will play and they don’t know how we will play. We will see how it turns out on the pitch. Surprises happen in football. Unai, I'm sure he has studied every detail that could determine the outcome of the match. I’m sure they want to win and go to the final.

"I have learned many things from Mr Emery, but one thing I will never forget from him, in order to find yourself in a final, in order to experience this great moment in your lifetime, one truly has to want that, one has to long for it, I believe the team that makes it to the final will be the one who wants it the most, who will strive the most.

"You have to have a very positive outlook. They have great players, we have great players, we will do everything in our possibilities to make it. What matters is that we want it more."

Iborra added: "It is one thing to be carried away, it's another thing to have the first-leg result in your mind. We will have it in our mind because the result was of our making, so it is important to consider.

"We want to go out and out-perform our opponents, score early. That should be a driving force to make it to the final. It is just one match we have to win to secure our position in the final. We know very well the first leg will be important but we have to be equally good tomorrow."

What the bookies are saying

Match Results - Olympiacos 23/10, Draw 3/1, Aston Villa 1/1
To Qualify - Olympiacos 2/7, Aston Villa 5/2

Bet Boosts

  • Ollie Watkins First Goalscorer @ 9/2

  • Correct Score – Aston Villa 2-0 @ 11/1

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