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Ramos relishing group stage task
Juande Ramos, coach of UEFA Cup holders Sevilla FC, was in determined mood after the draw for the group stage of this season s competition while a number of other coaches expressed optimism. uefa.com collects the reaction from the 20 sides in Groups A-D. Group A I m satisfied. I wanted to play against strong and important European clubs, especially from Western Europe; we got three of those and we will try to be the best. We could have drawn some easier opponents in terms of the competition, but I m still optimistic. The UEFA Cup is our interest in this season and I believe we will do well. Miodrag Ješić, FK Partizan coach It is a very interesting and difficult group but I think we have good chances of getting through. We are happy to have avoided an away match in Israel that is always a bit complicated for logistic reasons and we are also very satisfied to have a day of rest in the middle after two games. I m optimistic, I think we can qualify. Renato Cipollini, AS Livorno Calcio director We will play our last game at home and that will be the 100th of Auxerre on the European scene. Rangers [FC] have good memories for us as we have managed to beat them in the past. Jean-Claude Hamel, president of AJ Auxerre It s a very interesting draw and we are obviously very happy to be going back to France. Paul [Le Guen] and I know Auxerre well of course. They are a good side and we know that we will have a difficult match when we play them here in November. Yves Colleu, Rangers FC assistant manager To say it s a tough draw would be an understatement. We will study our opponents and try and do our best against four quality sides. I am not setting my sights too far ahead, because it s a group stage and it takes time to learn where we are heading. We hope to do well, and if at some stage we are in a position to capture one of the top three spots, we ll try our hardest to do so. Roni Levy, Maccabi Haifa FC coach Group B It s an interesting but difficult group - and it is a very attractive proposition. But if we play to our potential, like we have done in our last two games against [FC] Sion and [FC] Schalke [04], we will have a chance. Michael Skibbe, Bayer 04 Leverkusen coach I m satisfied because they are nice opponents. Leverkusen at home is a nice start and Tottenham and Beşiktaş are two good away matches. It will get tough, but maybe it is better this way rather than avoiding the weaker and less well-known sides. Then people might expect us to get through too easily. Marc Degryse, Club Brugge KV director of football Our only target is to lift the UEFA Cup, so of course we want to advance from the group. Even the team in our group from the fifth pot in the draw, Tottenham, were one of the strongest. If we want to win the trophy, we have to defeat all our opponents. Murat Aksu, Beşiktaş JK vice-president Dinamo have played in UEFA club competition against very strong opponents in the past, the likes of Hamburger [SV], Liverpool [FC], [RSC] Anderlecht, [UC] Sampdoria and so on. Obviously this is perhaps the toughest group, but we will play and fight until the end. Football always offers surprises, even if all four opponents are so good and have massive experience at European level. Whatever the results, it will be a very good opportunity for us. Mircea Rednic, FC Dinamo 1948 Bucuresti coach It is a difficult draw because we were in the last pot so it was always going to be a hard group. Normally the top three teams would be big favourites, but there are no weaker teams in our group and we will not be viewed as such by the other clubs. I think we have done okay and it will be an exciting journey for us. Martin Jol, Tottenham Hotspur FC manager Group C We simply have to win. AZ Alkmaar were in theory one of the teams we didn t really want in our group, but we can t complain. All of the teams are difficult and complicated so we have four tough and competitive games, but we are very eager to get through the group stage. Juande Ramos, Sevilla FC coach It s a very heavy group, but we will make quite an impression in Europe if we can qualify for the next stage. They are all teams who like to play football and that is to our advantage, as is the fact that the distances we have to travel are a lot shorter than last year. Shota Arveladze, AZ Alkmaar captain It will be a very useful confrontation against four other sides who are among the best in their respective countries. Sevilla as the holders are absolutely outstanding opponents, but Alkmaar, who are almost unknown here, will also be very dangerous thanks to their experienced coach Louis van Gaal. Having said that, we can still be among the three best sides. Vítězslav Lavička, FC Slovan Liberec coach Basically the group is attractive for me and from a sporting point of view, we certainly have the chance to reach the next round. As we have two home matches against Alkmaar and Sevilla we are definitely happy. Krassimir Balakov, Grasshopper-Club coach There are very strong opponents in our group, Sevilla, of course. Alkmaar are also a strong team but I think the other sides are equal with [SC] Braga. Liberec are a typical Czech side with two very good forwards but Grasshoppers, on the other hand, have a Brazilian touch. All the matches will be very hard but we ll have to wait and see if we can get through. Our main goal was to reach this stage. Carlos Carvalhal, SC Braga coach Group D I m satisfied with the draw. We will have many good games to play and the chance to use many players, especially the youngsters who can earn great experience in the UEFA Cup. Our main target for the season remains avoiding relegation from Serie A especially because we have not started as we wanted to in the domestic league, but we also want to honour the UEFA Cup in the best possible way. Stefano Pioli, Parma FC coach It's an even group; last season we had one team who were weaker than the others but that's not the case this time. Every team will have their chance. They will be tough games. We ll wait to learn the precise venues and schedule before we start to look into our opponents. For the moment, I only know that Parma are struggling in Serie A. Francis Gillot, RC Lens coach It will be tough, but they are easy clubs to play against. Who is the weakest? You never can say that; we lost against [SC] Excelsior and no one would have thought that. These are four heavy opponents and we have to give all we got. At home we can beat everyone, but it does not matter against whom or where we take the points as long as we take them. Michael Dingsdag, SC Heerenveen defender I m happy with what the draw had in store for us and they are good rivals, especially when both away trips will be to France and Italy which are good for our fans. However, our group isn t easy although I think our team has enough quality to compete. In my opinion, the group favourites are Lens, but we also have to watch out for Parma. Cuco Ziganda, CA Osasuna coach It is an extremely poisonous pool. All eight groups are difficult, but we face four strong teams and we ll look to get off to a good start at home to Parma. I hope our supporters are attracted by the home games against Parma and Lens; they are two very tough opponents and we hope to get a full house for both matches. It is very difficult for us, but we will have our chances. Kim Brink, Odense BK club secretary