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Man United 'a thrilling challenge' for Celta in Europa semis - Minambres

Man United 'a thrilling challenge' for Celta in Europa semis - Minambres

ESPN

Celta Vigo could not have asked for a more famous opponent in their Europa League semifinal than Manchester United with the La Liga side champing at the bit to face them, according to club sporting director Felipe Minambres.

The Galician outfit will square off against United in European competition for the first time following Friday's draw in Nyon.

Celta will host the three-time European champions on May 4 before travelling to Old Trafford a week later for the return leg.

Celta v @ManUtd Jueves 4517 Balados @ManUtd v Celta Jueves 11517 Old TraffordSigamosSoando pic.twitter.comYfXoAHYx0w

Minambres told his club's website: "It's a historic rival, grandiose, perhaps the most well-known.

"But if you have to achieve things, it's better to do so in style and in a magnificent venue.

"It's a thrilling challenge against a historically and financially grand opponent.

"We are happy to be here and even more so to be facing a team like Manchester to compete for a place in the final."

Celta eliminated Ukrainians Shakhtar Donetsk and Russian side Krasnodar before drawing 1-1 at Genk on Thursday to advance to the last four with a 4-3 aggregate win.

Winners of the Intertoto Cup in 2000, Celta have never played in a semifinal of a major European competition.

United advanced after edging Anderlecht 3-2 on aggregate.

The Red Devils, coached by Jose Mourinho, have never won the Europa League.

"We respect United, it's a great team with a big name but Celta also has a chance," Minambres said. "We are going to try to be on the same level when we play them.

"Our style of play is not going to change whether we play at home or away, it's still the same.

"What we need to make sure of is that our fans in Vigo enjoy an extraordinary game and also experience a great environment there Manchester in order to try to reach the final."

Minambes does not believe Celta's lack of experience in big games will affect his team.

Celta, coached by Eduardo Berizzo, are 10th in La Liga. They returned to European competition this season after a 10-year wait.

"We have to enjoy it, experience this and when the time comes, try to win it," he said. "We know we are a competitive team and that is what we are going to try to do in the next round."

Celta's Swedish striker John Guidetti has denied reports that he had suffered a recurring muscular injury during Thursday's game in Belgium and could miss the rest of the season.

Guidetti, who has scored four goals and set up two more in 11 Europa League appearances, was replaced before half-time but the former Manchester City player tweeted on Friday: "Semifinals here we come I am so proud of the boys.

I just want to clear up I did not get injured last night. I was not feeling well before the game. I had a fever and bad cough but I wanted to try, but after some time, I realized it would be better for me and the team to not play anymore. But in 1 or 2 days I will be ready. Thanks also to all the supporters who made the trip to Belgium."

The Europa League final will be played on May 24 in Stockholm.

Adriana Garcia is a Valencia-based football writer who covers La Liga for ESPN FC.

ESPN