Torino prepare for European return
Torino are savouring the moment as they go into their first official European fixture in 20 years.
The Serie A side face Brommapojkarna in the third qualifying round of the Europa League on Thursday evening, two decades after their last appearance on the European stage, a defeat to Arsenal in the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1994.
"This is a just reward for my players," said coach Giampiero Ventura, whose side finished seventh in Serie A last season, but benefitted from Parma's defaulting on tax payments to take their place in Europe. "Kamil Glik here is testament of how this club has got here."
Glik arrived in Turin three years ago, when they were still in Serie B. "If I have to think back on what has happened in these years, I certainly would never have thought I would be sitting here now at a news conference ahead of a Europa League match," the Pole added.
"But like our coach said, we haven't had any gifts from anybody, what we have done has been step by step, united, and here we are, eager to do well. We are where we are thanks also to our fans, and we need to thank them too. They've always backed us, even in the most difficult times, which is why it is so nice to share this experience with them."
It is an experience the Granata hope will last several months at least, although they are equally aware of how difficult the first hurdle to the group stage is going to be.
"I honestly knew little about Brommapojkarna and Swedish football before the draw," Ventura told a news conference in Stockholm. "So I gathered some information and I know now that Brommapojkarna are a club who produce many young prospects.
"That's an approach I share and the difficulty for us in this game, apart from the difference in condition, is going to be the hunger, desire and enthusiasm that these young players have to show themselves off."
Torino take to the field at the Stockholm Arena at 19:00 with the return leg at Turin's Stadio Olimpico next Thursday. The winner will proceed to the playoff round, where a place in the group stage is at stake.