Diego Martinez believes Granada can upset the odds against Manchester United

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Simon Peach, PA Chief Football Writer
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Head coach Diego Martinez believes Granada can cause an almighty Europa League shock against Manchester United with a remarkable Old Trafford turnaround on Thursday.

Just two years on from playing in the second tier, the European debutants were hit by a late gut punch when Bruno Fernandes added a late penalty to Marcus Rashford’s goal in last week’s quarter-final first leg.

United have progressed in all 19 European ties in which they won the first leg on the road and the 2-0 away triumph has seen one bookmaker price Granada at 1000-1 to reach the semi-finals.

But Martinez’s side have caused shocks aplenty in their recent rise, with the coach saying before the first leg that the message in the dressing room has been “they didn’t know it’s impossible so they did it”.

Bruno Fernandes celebrates making it 2-0 at the death
Bruno Fernandes celebrates making it 2-0 at the death (Fermin Rodriguez/AP)

“If I’m talking with you here, it’s because that phrase must have had some impact, what I said in the dressing room,” the Granada boss said when he was reminded of those words on the eve of Thursday’s second leg.

“Speaking to you here in this amazing stadium on this world stage, it’s got to be that I’ve got confidence in the players.

“We trust in our possibilities to do well. When you go out with a determination you can do anything and that includes the game tomorrow night.

“We believe in ourselves. Someone has to win the game and we trust our own players. As a minimum, that’s the least you can do, isn’t it? Believe in yourselves totally.”

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Head coach Martinez knows his side need the “perfect game” and called for his group to stay calm on a night that they approach without the suspended Domingos Duarte and Yan Brice.

Chelsea loanee Kenedy is a doubt for the second leg but travelled with the squad for what could be the greatest night in the club’s history.

“When we were handing over our passports at the airport, the police at the airport were thanking us for all we’ve achieved,” Martinez said.

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“We never imagined that we’d be even in the first division many years ago.

“This team, what they’ve managed to achieve, are things which were almost impossible to consider in years before and so we’re convinced about our chances.

“We know we’re up against a magnificent opponent, a really tough opponent, but we’re going to go for it with determination tomorrow night and we’ll be trying our best.”