Juanito: Betis a different team in Europe

The Betis icon has conceded that they are in a difficult situation domestically, but believes they get the best out of themselves in European competition
By Gonzalo Ruiz and Francisco Rico

Former Spain international Juanito has acknowledged that it will be hard for Betis to escape relegation from La Liga, but has stressed they are a completely different team in the Europa League.

Betis currently sit rock bottom in La Liga with 19 points from 28 games - trailing 19th placed Almeria by seven points - yet they are on the verge of reaching the quarter-finals of the Europa League after beating Sevilla 2-0 in the first leg of their round of 16 tie.

"Avoiding relegation will be a tough task for Betis. They cannot relax," Juanito told Goal.

"We all know the difficult situation Betis find themselves in in La Liga. We have to stay realistic. Nine points to safety is a big gap. But we should not give up and eliminating Sevilla would boost morale.

"They should now focus on the tie with Sevilla, because reaching the quarter-finals of the Europa League would be a great result. They seemed to have little chance before the first leg, but Betis are a different team in Europe."

Juanito, who made well over 250 official appearances for Betis between 2000 and 2009, then went on to discuss the club's chances in Europe and stated that a lot will depend on the draw if they do reach the quarter-finals.

"It all depends on the team's next opponent whether they can go far. There are some very strong teams out there. Juventus or Fiorentina would be a strong opponent and Napoli, too.

"It gets tougher as the competition approaches the final stages. It will not be easy, but anything can happen over two legs."