Smicer relishing Villa test
Vladimir Smicer is relishing Slavia Prague's Uefa Cup meeting with Aston Villa on Thursday night.
Last Updated: 05/11/08 7:04pm
Former Liverpool midfielder Vladimir Smicer is relishing Slavia Prague's Uefa Cup meeting with Aston Villa on Thursday night.
The 35-year-old describes Slavia's Group F opener against Martin O'Neill's side as 'a present'.
Slavia, who top the Gambrinus Liga, are unbeaten in eight matches at their new home, the Eden Stadion.
They can also take confidence after acquitting themselves well against Italian giants Fiorentina in their recent UEFA Champions League qualifier, going down 2-0 away before drawing 0-0 at home.
But Smicer knows it will be tough both against Villa, as it will be to progress out of a group which also houses Ajax and Hamburg.
He said: "We played a big game against Fiorentina, a Champions League qualifier, but we know it's a tough group for us.
"Hamburg, Ajax, Aston Villa, they are really good teams and everybody expects those three to go through, but we'll see after tomorrow.
"It's a really good chance for us. We know they are a really good team but we are playing at home and we would like to make a good game and have a good result.
"At the moment I think they play really good football. They've got really fast players like Agbonlahor and Young.
"It's a really good test for us and for us it's like a present playing against them."
The 35-year-old spent six years at Anfield - including winning the Champions League in 2005 - before leaving for Bordeaux.
He has fond memories of his previous meetings with Villa, saying: "They are a really traditional club in England.
"I have a lot of respect for Aston Villa; I remember they have a nice stadium and really good fans.
"My friend Berger played there so I was watching them quite closely."