UEFA Super Cup: Sevilla coach Unai Emery impressed by Real Madrid's Gareth Bale
Last Updated: 12/08/14 6:52pm
Sevilla coach Unai Emery says Wales star Gareth Bale's success in Spain has not surprised him.
Bale is back in Wales ahead of Tuesday night's UEFA Super Cup match against Real Madrid at Cardiff City Stadium.
The game has been billed as a homecoming fixture for the Cardiff-born former Tottenham attacker, as Champions League winners Real prepare to take on Europa League title holders Sevilla.
Bale shone for Real against Sevilla last season, which is an experience etched in Emery's memory, and he is expected to play a pivotal role as the Spanish giants target more silverware.
"We unfortunately got to know him in the first match he played (against Sevilla), and he was already at an extremely high level," said Emery, during Monday's pre-match press conference in Cardiff.
"It was a beautiful game for spectators, but an ugly game for Sevilla. Bale was the star."
That fixture came in October, when Bale scored twice in a 7-3 win for Real at the Bernabeu.
"When you have a player of that calibre on your side, you can rest easy. We will aim to cover him individually, and also his team-mates," Emery said.
"It hasn't surprised me how quickly he has adapted (with Real Madrid), based on the fact he's a great player and a great athlete.
"He has adapted quickly, and it's down to his character and personality. His style and his team match, and that has been key to his success."
While Emery readily showered praise on 25-year-old Bale, he was less forthcoming when asked about speculation linking defender Alberto Moreno with a possible move to Liverpool.
"I expect him to play for us tomorrow," said Emery, without offering any further comment.
It hasn't surprised me how quickly he (Bale) has adapted (with Real Madrid), based on the fact he's a great player and a great athlete.
Real are expected to parade new signings James Rodriguez and Toni Kroos - both are included in a 23-man squad - but Emery claims his team will be ready for whatever is thrown at them.
"We have tried to think about the initial line-up they may have, but we have prepared regardless of who will play," he added.
"The handicap that might play in favour - or against us - is that Kroos and James have not yet played with Real Madrid, but we cannot prepare just for them. We have to see what their entire line-up will be.
"They are football players of the highest level, players of the highest rank in physical and technical terms. They know how to give their best.
"You can spend more time defending than attacking, but you have to have a balance,
"You have to be ready defensively. We have to base our defence on a tight formation and face off one-on-one with their players so they don't have numerical superiority, but if we have possession we need to have speed to go forward.
"The strategies are important. They have important players - Kroos is a great playmaker - but we have our tools and weapons.
"They are the favourites, but we have a lot of passion and we are convinced we can compete and take this spirit to overcome obstacles on the pitch."
Watch Real Madrid and Sevilla go head to head in Cardiff for the UEFA Super Cup live on Sky Sports 5 on Tuesday night, with coverage underway from 6pm.