Escriba: CL tie is balanced

New Villarreal Coach Fran Escriba believes the club’s Champions League play-off with Monaco is ‘balanced’ with no favourites.

Escriba was confirmed at El Madrigal after Marcelino’s surprise departure and debuts on the bench against the Ligue 1 side, with a place in the group stage at stake over the two legs.

“I think the tie is balanced, because we are teams of a similar level. It’s wrong to think there is a favourite, and I think the tie will still be open for the return. It’s true we have casualties, but also great enthusiasm. This is a very good squad. We have weapons which we’ll try to use,” he told reporters, according to AS.

Villarreal are without Roberto Soldado, Cedric Bakambu, Jonathan Dos Santos, Jaume Costa, Daniele Bonera, Denis Cheryshev, Victor Ruiz and Nicola Sansone, but Escriba reminded that the game doesn’t have to be won in the first leg.

“We all want the best possible result but we have to consider there will be a return match. They don’t want to risk too much, like us. We can’t make mistakes because we have another meeting, in Monaco,” he added.

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