a 0-2 defeat in the first leg. not great, but it can be a dangerous lead for villarreal - if we make it so. if we can learn our lessons from the first leg, it definitely isn't done and dusted.
"Hasn't life always been about striving for greatness? About making the seemingly impossible possible?" That's the sentence we began our trailer ahead of the first leg with last week. It couldn't be any more apt right now, actually, shortly before the second leg, as we go into it two away goals down. Turning the tie around will not be easy, as the scoreline was as comfortable as it was deserved for Villarreal last Thursday. Our chances of creating a sensation are not yet out of reach, however. We have to make the qualities that helped Villarreal to win come back to bite them.
exploiting the transition to win
Let's take another look back at how the match went last week. Villarreal were very strong in their build-up play and continually passed their way through and around our pressing efforts. That left our boys chasing back to try to fill gaps that the opponents exploited. The Submarinos often used their full-backs to create an overlap, and switched the sides of their wide players at other times in elaborate play that they achieved with a surprising degree of precision.
That is precisely the point the match could be won on, however. It will be tight in the final third, and that's where the most losses of possession take place. The full-backs high up the pitch will find themselves ahead of the ball if Villarreal lose it, as will their strikers and the majority of the midfield. In the first leg, they managed to cut out any quick attacks with gegenpressing. Playing long balls to speedster Patson Daka after we win possession could just cause plenty of headaches for the Submarinos' slow defence. Aerial battles, even in unusual areas like the wings, are another of our trump cards.
The Estadio de la Ceramica is a real fortress, however. Villarreal have not quite had a season for the annals, but have lost just one of their 15 home matches so far - 1-2 in controversial circumstances to Real Betis. That shows how difficult it will be to win by two goals. The key is the control of the play that Villarreal do so well. They are never too risky, often have more of the possession and control the tempo - things we have to battle them for if we want to win in Spain. We have to make Villarreal really uncomfortable.
The team will almost select itself this time. Bernardo is still on the injury list, where he has been joined by Noah Okafor. It is therefore likely that only 14 players from the first team will be available for selection, or 15 if you count Max Wöber, who has just returned from injury.
You can be among the first to find out who makes our starting line-up in our Mobile App. Our English club Twitter account will report live on the match. It can be viewed live in Austria on PULS 4.
Out for the Red Bulls are Bernardo (knee injury) and Max Wöber (thigh problems).
We clearly need a better performance than in the first leg. We know that we have to put Villarreal under pressure with a perfect performance, and that we can still progress. We need more aggression and better decision-making in our play for that.
We haven't put ourselves in a good position in the tie, unfortunately, after our 0-2 defeat at home. We showed last weekend against Rapid what we are capable of. That gave us some confidence but we have to build on that and press on.
Further views follow our press conference tomorrow at 18:15 CET, which can be seen on a live stream in our App, on our website and Facebook.
clashes with Villarreal:
18.02.2021 FC Salzburg 0–2 Villarreal CF
26.02.2015 FC Salzburg 1–3 Villarreal CF
19.02.2015 Villarreal CF 2–1 FC Salzburg
17.12.2009 Villarreal CF 0–1 FC Salzburg
01.12.2009 FC Salzburg 2–0 Villarreal CF