(Reuters) – After eliminating Juventus and Bayern Munich from the Champions League, Villarreal have “all the confidence in the world” that they can get past Liverpool and reach the final of Europe’s elite club competition, midfielder Dani Parejo said.
The Spanish side won the Europa League last season and followed up that impressive European campaign by reaching their first Champions League semi-final in 16 years.
“On the basis of the teams we have beaten, not only this year, but also last year in the Europa League, and now the journey we have had in this Champions League,” Parejo told reporters ahead of the first leg at Anfield later on Wednesday.
“Knocking out Juventus and Bayern was very important for us because it showed we can reach a level where we can compete with these teams.”
Parejo credited owner Fernando Roig and vice president Jose Manuel Llaneza for the club’s success. Billionaire Roig became Villarreal’s president in 1997 and was the architect of their rise to becoming one of the top sides in Spanish soccer.
“When you look at the club, which was taken over by the Roig family 23 or 24 years ago along with Jose Manuel Llaneza, they have played European competitions for many years …,” Parejo said. “This isn’t a coincidence.
“That is work, consistency, and trust in a project while taking loving care of it, giving it importance and letting people work. I believe that when you trust in a project and you put love into it, the chances to succeed are much higher.”
(Reporting by Aadi Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)