Sahin - No step down
On-loan Liverpool midfielder Nuri Sahin is taking the Europa League seriously and does not view it as a step down from the Champions League.
Last Updated: 20/09/12 10:27am
On-loan Liverpool midfielder Nuri Sahin is taking the Europa League seriously and does not view it as a step down from the UEFA Champions League.
Last season the 24-year-old Turkey international was playing alongside the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka and Xabi Alonso in Real Madrid's run to the semi-finals of Europe's top club competition.
But, on Thursday night, he will make only his second appearance since moving to Anfield on a season-long temporary deal in a virtual Liverpool reserve side in the continent's second-tier competition against Young Boys in Bern.
"I know maybe in England the focus is more on the Champions League," he said. "Maybe it's because the English teams are getting used to winning trophies in the Champions League. If you look at the semi-finals, most of the teams are Spanish or English.
"Every player wants to play Champions League but I am not the type of person to say it is a step down.
"The Europa League is also a very good competition and we will try to go to the end.
"I played this competition with Borussia Dortmund and it is a difficult competition and when the Champions League teams come down after their first group stage it becomes a very good competition."
Sahin, who needs match sharpness, is one of the few players in a squad with the average age of 21 who has previous Champions League experience.
And while he will be seen as one of those expected to help the youngsters through the Group A clash, he also has to concentrate on his own game as he tries to force his way into the first-team reckoning.
"I love football and I am happy I can be a part of the game," he added. "We have a few players who can lead the team but I am one of the players with the most experience.
"I try to lead the team because I play central midfield and I have to take the responsibility and I am glad to do this.
"I want to play every game. Last year I played only a few games and this year I want to play every minute.
"Of course I need games to get to the level I long to be and this is a good chance for me."