Maccabi Tel Aviv head coach Paulo Sousa is preparing for tomorrow night's final and crucial Europa League group stage match against French side FC Girondins de Bordeaux: "We will do everything possible to make this an historic night for the club"

This evening Maccabi Tel Aviv held a press conference ahead of tomorrow's encounter against French side Bordeaux in the final matchday of the group stage of the Europa League. Just as the Frenchmen were struggling to cope with the heavy rains that fell during their final practice at Bloomfield Stadium, Maccabi head coach Paulo Sousa and team captain Sheran Yeini arrived for a press conference at the special media tent set up for the occasion, where the topic of the sudden and unusually wintry weather was virtually unavoidable: "Do I like this weather? Of course, under a warm blanket at home. But outside it's a trifle chilly", joked Sousa. "But we have to play under any conditions, especially in light of the opportunity good results in the group hold out for us, and that's what we must concentrate on, and of course the pitch conditions. I always have to take into account all the circumstances that may have an influence on the game to ensure we get the result we want and if those are the conditions we have to deal with, so be it".

The head coach didn't take particular notice of the fact that key members of the Bordeaux squad will not be appearing in tonight's line-up: "I'm certain they'll be sending on eleven men and they're the ones will have to get the desired result from. I have no doubt that the market value of those players not appearing tonight is significantly higher than that of our lads and that they play in a far better league than ours. Sometimes we simply have to appreciate our place in the larger picture and be realistic, and the reality is that (team captain) Sheran Yeini and his teammates have invested everything they have to make this an historic moment in their careers and that's what we'll be trying to accomplish tomorrow".

Sousa continued: "I'm only interested in the principles of my game as head coach and what my players have to produce to achieve them. What I want to see is the state of my players' mentality, that winning mentality that I've been demanding since I took charge and that's what I'm looking for in every match and against every opponent. The strategy may change from match to match but the game principles stay the same".  

With the potential of an historic match just 24 hours away, Sousa wished to give credit where he felt the credit was due – to his players: "Working with these players is a great pleasure to me, both as a coach and as a human being. They have complete confidence in what we're doing, they work extremely hard and it's them that deserve the credit because it's them out there on the pitch. They're trying to understand and to learn and to put what they learn into practice on the pitch. So far they've done this all very well, they've had good results in Europe and so they deserve to get a result tomorrow that will get us into the next stage of the competition. They deserve all the credit because their performances have been excellent, with good results, and all this in the hope of making history tomorrow, for themselves, for their club and for football in Israel in general".

Captain Sheran Yeini spoke about what the team had accomplished so far in the course of their European campaign: "At first we were chuffed just to be part of the whole European thing and for us this is an absolutely unique experience. It goes without saying that we want to improve and collect more and more European experience. As the matches went along we could see we had a chance and that we were playing well. We have this feeling like we deserve this and now we have to focus on just one more match and get the points. I mean, it's already quite an achievement, the number of points we've collected in this competition, so now we're thinking about this match and only this match and afterwards they'll be time to talk about our feelings and the next stage".

"There are big differences between our league and the one Bordeaux play in, and it's not just that we can't afford to be complacent, we also mustn't let pride in our achievements so far blind us to the facts. Theirs is an excellent league with great players, even in the teams at the bottom of the table. Even if Bordeaux do run out their younger players, these guys are really good, they're strong, their fast, they've played on the national teams and I'm certain they're excellent footballers. We can't afford not to be fully committed to this match. We know how important this match is and we've talked about it a lot. It's a grand stage and this is our chance to show what we're worth".