Sevilla coach Unai Emery is aware of the threat posed by Fiorentina towards his side’s title defense heading into today’s first leg of the Europa League semi-finals in Spain.

The La Liga club are also attempting to become the first team to win UEFA Cup/Europa League title four times.

Their opponents, Fiorentina, are unbeaten in their last 12 European away games (W8 D4); their last European defeat was against Bayern Munich during the 2009-2010 Champions League Round of 16.

The Viola have already eliminated Tottenham, AS Roma and Dynamo Kyiv from the Europa League this season, and Emery is well-aware of the qualities possessed by his Italian opposition.

“We have to pay attention to Mario Gomez, Mohamed Salah, Borja Valero and Marcos Alonso when he gets forward,” the Sevilla coach said during his pre-match press conference.

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“Fiorentina are coming to the end of a very good season – we are two similar teams, looking at the trophies both clubs have won, so it is an even tie.

“Fiorentina have eliminated three great teams – Tottenham, Roma and Dynamo Kyiv. They have also plenty of good players – I know Joaquin very well as I had him at Valencia.”

In recent weeks, the Sevilla coach has been strongly linked with the job at AC Milan. However, Emery refused to comment about the speculation, choosing instead to focus on his current team’s goal of defending their Europa League crown.

“As for the AC Milan rumors in the newspapers, I have to say I am very happy in Seville and only thinking about this tie against Fiorentina,” Emery added.

“This is a special moment as both teams can write a new chapter in their history. The past is very nice but it is the past. The most important thing is the here and now, and right now we are two equal sides that want to win this competition.

“It is a 180-minute tie and we should be ready for it to last even longer.”

Programming note: Sevilla vs. Fiorentina will be shown LIVE today starting at 3:00pm EST on FOX Sports 1 and FoxSoccer2Go.