‘This is football, you never know’: Watford loanee Domingos Quina claims Granada CAN cause a seismic shock and dump Manchester United out of the Europa League… as he flourishes in LaLiga, with Barcelona keeping tabs on his progress
- Granada are set for Europa League quarter-final showdown with Man United
- Spanish side, in their first season in Europe, enter the tie as massive underdogs
- They have among their ranks Domingos Quina, on loan from Watford this season
- Quina won’t be eligible for the two legs but isn’t ruling out a shock outcome
- He has been playing regular football in LaLiga and making an impact on games
- Barcelona are known to be long-standing admirers of 21-year-old midfielder
Domingos Quina responds in unequivocal fashion when asked whether Granada can pull off the most famous result in their history tonight.
‘Of course. This is football. You never know,’ the 21-year-old tells Sportsmail.
‘Against Napoli (in the round of 32), they were the favourites but we got the job done we just need to keep believing and dreaming and everything will be possible.’
Watford loanee Domingos Quina has impressed for Spanish club Granada this season – they are preparing to play Manchester United in the quarter-finals of the Europa League
The Portuguese midfielder has enjoyed greater game time with Granada than at Watford
It’s the sort of spirit his team need to replicate if they are to send shockwaves across European football in their Europa League quarter-final clash against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on Thursday night.
The odds are stacked against Granada, of course. This is their first ever season playing European football.
United’s European traditions are in need of no explanation.
But, as Quina explains, Diego Martinez’s side refuse to underestimate themselves.
‘We could surprise a few people for sure, we will fight until the end,’ said the midfielder.
‘We are a really passionate team, we have big dreams and goals – the manager makes us feel like everything is possible.’
The terms of Quina’s loan from Watford mean he is ineligible for the two games with United
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s United start as strong favourites but Granada are quietly confident
Unfortunately for Quina, he is ineligible for the games against United having joined Granada on loan from Watford until the end of the season.
He said: ‘I’m not going to lie, I am little bit disappointed. I like playing in the big occasions, against the big teams, in the big stadiums.
‘I’d learn a lot because United are a top team with world class footballers – it will be a great experience for my team mates.
‘But I’ll be there supporting them. Granada is like a family, it doesn’t matter (if I’m not playing) the team always comes first.’
It’s that sort of attitude that has seen Quina flourish in Spain.
For the first time in his career, he is playing sustained senior football this season. He has made six appearances, five of those starts, since arriving from Vicarage Road, where he’d already played 14 times.
Former Tottenham striker Roberto Soldado (second left) celebrates with his Granada team-mates after scoring against Molde in the last round
Soldado fires home the opening goal for Granada against Norwegians Molde in the last-16
He is impacting games, too. He’s scored twice in LaLiga – against Elche and Huesca – since joining.
He said: ‘The way I started here is the way I want to be playing. Affecting games scoring goals, getting more assists.
‘Before I would just say to myself ‘I want to play and do my best’ – but now I’m thinking ‘how can affect the game, what can I do to get an assist, what can I do to score’. I’m really happy.’
His performances in Spain are attracting attention, too. Barcelona are known to be long-term admirers of Quina – the fact he is playing regularly in La Liga will only serve to solidify their interest.
In England, Sportsmail understands Fulham are among the clubs monitoring the youngster’s situation ahead of the summer window.
Quina has been on Barcelona’s radar for some time but he will return to England in the summer
‘I’ve not thought about the future, at the moment I’m still a Watford player. I have one more year left with an option.’ he explained.
‘All I know is that I have to go back because with Granada there is no option to buy.
‘It’s really nice to hear all of the interest in me and it is one thing that keeps me motivated because I want to be the best I can be and play in a team that wants to win trophies.
‘That keeps me driving forward. But I don’t let it get into my head. Even though I’m young, I’ve experienced a lot so far about clubs wanting me.
‘Speaking to this person, that person – so I don’t focus on any of that stuff and don’t really talk about it. I just want to keep my mind on football.
Of course, returning to Watford remains an alluring option for Quina.
Quina’s parent club Watford are on course for an immediate return to the Premier League
The Hornets, under Xisco, are on course for an instant return to the Premier League and Quina would slot back into life at Watford pretty seamlessly.
He stays in regular contact with those team-mates he left behind in January, particularly Andre Gray and Nathaniel Chalobah.
For now, however, Quina is focussing on his life in Granada. No wonder.
As this interview draws to a close it’s just started to snow here in England.
It’s 23 degrees in Granada. Unsurprisingly, Quina is feeling ‘pretty chilled’ right now.
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