A ‘special day’ for JIM and Levante

Juan Ignacio Martinez called it ‘a special day’ after watching his Levante team beat Motherwell 2-0 in their Europa League qualifier.

Los Granotes are hot favourites to progress to the group stages after comprehensively outplaying the Scottish outfit at Fir Park in what was the Valencia-based club’s first-ever game in European competition.

Martinez even disclosed that before the game he had made an emotional speech to his players.

“It was a special day for Levante and that was the feeling I wanted to get over to my players in the pre-match team talk,” he told a Press conference.

“I took a quote from Francisco Fenollosa [Levante honorary President] when we were on the bus, who said that today was a much happier day than his first communion.

“That said everything and was the sentiment I wished to convey to the team.”

His words seemed to hit the right note as goals from Juanlu and Nabil El Zhar ensured the Spanish outfit virtually booked their passage into the next stage of the competition, although Martinez is far from convinced the tie is over.

”You know me and I am not going to lose my humility. It’s true we have taken a giant step but we can’t underestimate our opponents.

“We played a very serious game and in the first half were not in any trouble.

“However, after the break you could say that it was nearer to being level than 2-0 to us.”

The absence of Pape Diop, who was unable to travel because of visa problems, meant Martinez was forced to field a more offensive line-up than he might have envisaged.

“We had the option of Pallardo but we chose to be a little more attack-minded with Michel and Barkero.

“In the more tactical aspect, Michel played in different areas while Barkero dropped in behind him, but we are delighted,” he beamed.

Tags Juan Ignacio Martinez Motherwell