Udinese are determined to “take the Champions League dream we only brushed last year,” said Francesco Guidolin ahead of tomorrow’s playoff with Sporting Braga.
The Friulani were also in this phase of the competition last season, but were eliminated over two legs by Arsenal.
“This is a fundamental passage for us. I cannot say whether we are more or less prepared than we were last year,” said Guidolin in his Press conference.
“Arsenal were extremely strong even though they had problems. Braga have excellent qualities and we must focus on the double test.
“Braga have very quick players from the midfield up, plus good technique in the middle of the park. They are compact and solid.”
Luis Muriel has been left out of the trip to Portugal because he is carrying an injury, so Antonio Di Natale is expected to have support from Diego Fabbrini in a 3-5-1-1 system.
Emmanuel Badu is in the squad, but at best will be fit for a spot on the bench on Wednesday evening.
Udinese have had their last few training sessions at the Stadio Friuli rather than the usual venue, which some suggested was to hide the team from prying opposition eyes.
“There is no dark undercurrent to this choice,” insisted Guidolin. “Quite simply in this searing heat of the last few days, the Stadio Friuli provides a minimum of shade that allows us to breathe a little easier.
“The stands are being reconstructed, so the fans cannot enter at the moment. I hope that situation changes soon, as our fans like seeing our training sessions and I have never thought training behind closed doors provides any kind of an advantage.”
Udinese (probable):Brkic; Benatia, Danilo, Domizzi; Basta, Pinzi, Willians, Pereyra, Armero; Fabbrini; Di Natale