Sevilla boss Julen Lopetegui makes huge West Ham claim ahead of Europa League last-16 clash

Sevilla manager Julen Lopetegui was full of praise for West Ham ahead of the Europa League last-16 clash on Thursday evening.

West Ham head to Spain for the first-leg to take on the six times winners of the Europa League but despite their excellent record in Europe Sevilla are wary of the threat the Hammers pose.

Ahead of the clash Lopetegui gave his thoughts on West Ham and admitted that it was the toughest draw his team could have faced.

“They are a very good club, who are fighting to be in the top four of the Premier League which is one of the best leagues in the world,” Lopetegui said.

“West Ham have a lot of very good players, [Michail] Antonio, [Declan] Rice, [Pablo] Fornals, no matter the absence of [Jarrod] Bowen.

“They are the best team that Sevilla could have drawn in the Europa League, and David Moyes is a top coach with a lot of experience.”

Lopetegui’s comments echo those of Moyes who believes that the Spanish side were the toughest opponents his team could have been drawn against in what he describes as the ‘tie of the round’.

Sevilla are currently second in La Liga and have a wealth of European experience to call upon going into the tie tomorrow evening.

West Ham cruised through the Europa League group stages but have not faced a knockout match in Europe since a Cup Winners’ Cup tie in 1981.

Despite the challenge ahead Moyes and West Ham are excited for the prospect with the Scot believing Sevilla are under greater pressure than his side.

“We’ll go there and really look forward to it,” Moyes said. “At the moment, I believe it’s a greater pressure for Sevilla than it is for West Ham as they’re used to it, but we want to get used to it and hopefully we’ll get even more used to it in the future.”

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