Sevilla relying on belief, not Benfica hoodoo - Emery
Sevilla coach Unai Emery on Tuesday pledged his side will be going all out to add to Benfica's continental woes when they meet in the Europa League final in Turin on Wednesday.
Benfica, who recently secured the Portuguese league title and League Cup, can claim an historic quadruple haul this season if they triumph at Juventus Stadium on Wednesday and then win the Portuguese Cup final on May 18.
However the Portuguese champions' record in European finals make for sorry reading - Benfica have stumbled at the last hurdle in every one of their seven European finals since claiming their second consecutive European Cup in 1962.
Yet Emery, for one, waved off suggestions Benfica's 52-year-old hoodoo could be preying on their minds.
"I don't know whether this" talk of a curse "is worrying them. I don't know how they feel. Only they know that," the 42-year-old coach told reporters at Juventus Stadium on Tuesday.
"If they're here, that means they have as much chance as us to win it.
"They probably deserve to be called the favourites. But we'll be giving it absolutely everything to make sure we win the title."
The smart money is on Benfica, who as well as dominating on the domestic front remain unbeaten in the Europa League so far this season.
Sevilla's path to Turin, meanwhile, has been comparatively troubled, with several late comeback wins required to put the Spaniards in with the chance of adding the Europa League to their consecutive UEFA Cup triumphs in 2006 and 2007.
The Spaniards only booked their ticket for Turin when on-loan Cameroonian midfielder Stephane Mbia headed a decisive away goal in the fourth minute of added time in a 3-1 second leg defeat away to Valencia.
Argentinian centre-back Federico Fazio admitted: "It's true we had to complete comebacks against Betis (in the last 16) and Valencia, and also against FC Porto (in the quarter-finals) although we didn't suffer so much in that match.
"We've suffered a lot to get here."
But Croatian captain Ivan Rakitic waved off suggestions the Liga side are feeling the effects of a long season.
And although none of the present squad were at the club during their previous two triumphs, he has enough faith in their abilities to believe they can add another prestigious line to the club's history.
"Only the media are suggesting we're lacking some spark, but I wouldn't agree," said Rakitic.
"We're physically and mentally ready and I can assure you tomorrow we're ready and willing to play the best match of our lives."
Asked if he had dreamt of lifting the trophy, the midfield linchpin added: "I don't want to dream about it, I want to experience it.
"We will have to work hard and be focused. But God willing I will be ready and willing to lift the trophy."