Garrido: Villarreal can win titles
Striker Nilmar believes Villarreal now boast a squad that can earn the Yellow Submarine their first major trophy, with this season's UEFA Europa League firmly in their sights.
Villarreal have only been playing top-flight football in Spain since 1998 and have yet to get their hands on any notable silverware, but with the talent at their disposal is seems only a matter of time before that statistic is remedied.
Nilmar and Giuseppe Rossi are a formidable threat up front, while they are ably backed up by a host of Spain internationals, including FIFA World Cup™ winners Joan Capdevila and Carlos Marchena, plus the likes of talented midfielders Borja Valero and Cani.
It is a team that should be challenging for honours, and although Juan Carlos Garrido's side are out of contention in La Liga and the Copa del Rey, they are still well in the hunt for Europa League glory, with a quarter-final first leg against in-form FC Twente tomorrow.
"We are going into the quarter-finals with high hopes of getting through because there are only five games to go to win a title," Nilmar said. "We have the right players to win Villarreal's first title. If we achieve that and also get into the [UEFA] Champions League it would be a spectacular season for us."
Coach Garrido said: "Villarreal have the right maturity to win titles. The eight teams that are still in have a possibility to win the Europa League. We know that winning it is very difficult, but we will give it everything and aim for the title. This club can do it and we want to do it."
Standing in Villarreal's way in the quarter-finals are an FC Twente side who have won six of their last seven competitive matches, with their only defeat coming against Zenit St Petersburg in their last Europa League outing - that after the Dutch side had been leading 3-0 from the first leg.
"We are facing a great team," Garrido said. "We have a lot of respect for Twente because they are the leaders of the Dutch league and are good in attack. I think the tie is at 50-50 and I'm sure that it will be decided in the second leg."
Michel Preud'homme's side make the trip to El Madrigal in buoyant mood after moving two points clear at the top of the Eredivisie after beating erstwhile pacesetters PSV Eindhoven 2-0, with Theo Janssen scoring both goals.
"Villarreal have very good players," Twente centre-back Douglas said on www.uefa.com. "They're almost all internationals, with a few exceptions. But we also have quality. I've seen Villarreal a couple of times and they play the same style as Barcelona.
"Their two strikers Rossi and Nilmar are especially dangerous and we'll have to watch them closely. We try to play football and we're not afraid of anyone. Villarreal are the favourites, though."