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Ex-City star Navas: Beating United would be nice for friends in Manchester

Former Manchester City winger Jesus Navas has said he is aiming to help Sevilla knock Manchester United out of the Champions League.

Navas, who played 183 games for City before returning to Sevilla last summer, faces United again in Wednesday's round-of-16 first leg at the Sanchez Pizjuan stadium.

"For us, it's all about getting through to the next round," he told The Mirror.

"But I know it would be nice for some of the friends I've got back in Manchester if we did manage to pull it off and knock United out.

"United were always our great rivals when I was at City, and we played some really important games against them.

"But now this is a really important game for Sevilla, and it would be great for us to make it to the quarterfinals."

Sevilla went out to Leicester at the same stage last season but have a chance to make amends against United as they aim for a first quarterfinal in Europe's elite club competition since 1958.

"This is really important game for the club, for our fans," 32-year-old Navas said. "We know it's going to be a hard game, but we're doing well at the moment and we'll do everything in our power to go through."

Sevilla, who have won their last three games and are fifth in La Liga, are coached by Vincenzo Montella, who replaced Eduardo Berizzo in December and has guided them to the Copa del Rey final.

"If people underestimate us, they should look at what we're doing at the moment, our performances, the fact we've got to a final already and we're still in all of the competitions," Navas added.

"We're a great side and we can achieve things. We know we'll have to be at our maximum level and concentrated throughout both games because at any moment, a top team like United can finish the tie."

Teammate Clement Lenglet said the players were determined to prove the doubters wrong against United, telling the club's official website: "Few people think we are going to go through and that truly motivates us.

"We want to prove to everyone that we are not a small team and that we can fight against anyone.

"We have no fear -- United have a lot of quality but so do we. The important thing is to score against a United side that concedes little."

Lenglet said limiting Romelu Lukaku's chances would be key, adding: "Always when you play in the last 16 of the Champions League, the visiting team's striker is a top level player.

"We are going to fight to annoy him because he is very strong."

Adriana Garcia is a Valencia-based football writer who covers La Liga for ESPN FC.

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