Escriba confesses surprise at Villarreal opportunity


Fran Escriba conceded to being surprised at being chosen as the man to lead Villarreal.

The former Elche boss, sacked by Getafe in April, has gone from a LaLiga relegation battle at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez to managing a club with designs on the Champions League.

Villarreal take on Monaco in the home leg of their play-off round tie in Europe's elite club competition on Wednesday and Escriba is relishing his new challenge.

"Normally at this time [in pre-season] you wait and see how things go throughout the year, so for me it was a big surprise," the 51-year-old said of his appointment as Marcelino's replacement on Thursday.

"That Villarreal call you does not happen every day. I know I'm facing a great challenge, but I could not say no.

"We have to continue the project. The key is to use the good things about this team, which is a lot.

"It has always been an organised team and I like that. I'm here to change things that I think we can improve, but my ideas are coupled very well to what we have.

"The squad is balanced, with several players per position."

Villarreal's league season begins at Granada next Saturday, with the second leg of their pivotal qualification contest against Monaco following on August 23.