Juve, Europa League, how it plays, players, coaches Sevilla
Three coaches in one season, most recently Mendilibar, the struggle to return to the league and the feud between the former president and the current president: this is how the Andalusians dream of a seventh Europa League seal
Ok, the Europa League could easily be renamed the Sevilla League, but this time not even Sanchez Pizjuan’s most loyal fans were hoping for it. When Sevilla faced United in the draw on March 17, no one would have thought that the Andalusians would be able to knock out the English battleship.
Very different moments
The team was still in the hands of Sampaoli, they had just lost to Fenerbahce, were in great pain and in La Liga they had won the save with Almeria and moved to +2 on the relegation zone, which they have been occupied for a long time . On the other hand, Ten Hag’s side had just won at Seville with Betis and although shaken by the 7-0 win at Anfield they had an exceptional winning streak and were glued firmly to third place in the Premier League.
Two days after the draw, Sevilla lost another save with Getafe and the Monchi-led management decided to change coaches again: via Sampaoli, who had replaced Lopetegui in early October, to Jose Luis Mendilibar, the down-to-earth, low-profile Basque coach and a high idea of the meaning of the work. In his past Eibar, Valladolid, Levante, Alaves… And not even a single game in Europe. Sevilla spent 20 million euros this year on severance payments and salaries for the coaches alone.
Mendilibar made their debut with a 2-0 win in the delicate and warm derby (another game on the relegation zone) in Cádiz, drawing 2-2 with Celta and repeating the result at Old Trafford in an absurd game: United 2-0 ahead absolute control of a Seville at the mercy of its own insecurities. But Mendilibar is the perfect coach, he didn’t get upset, he transferred calm to his team and was grateful when the English committed suicide with Malacia’s own goals and the terrible Maguire, who again played a negative role at Sanchez Pizjuan last night. Then Sevilla won 2-0 at the Mestalla, caused problems for Valencia and caught wind: today they are in thirteenth place in La Liga.
The unbelievable fact
And in the semi-finals of the Europa League. And here we have to make a statistical break: in the second European competition, Sevilla reached the quarterfinals 7 times and lifted the cup the first 6 times. Juventus has been warned.
From the Champions League to the abyss
Now let’s get back to this crazy season. Under Lopetegui, Sevilla finished fourth in La Liga a year ago, -1 from Atletico Madrid and -3 from Barcelona. The problem is that in the summer they sold the two super centre-backs, Kounde and Diego Carlos, and Monchi didn’t properly replace them. The job of scouting unknown talent is a complex one, and things have been going wrong for the director, who has moved from Rome. Sevilla started in the Champions League and found themselves in the relegation zone on October 7 after a draw against Athletic Bilbao with 6 points in 8 days.
The first change
It was Sampaoli’s debut game, Lopetegui being sacked after beating Borussia Dortmund 4-1 at home. The Argentine saved his European fate by snatching third place which gave him the playout with PSV: 3-0 at home but defeated 2-0 away as this side is always on the verge of a nervous breakdown. And in the league, as mentioned, the flirtation with staying up in the league lasted a long time.
Things seem to have calmed down with Mendilibar. The one against United was undoubtedly the best performance of the season. And many players seem to have found each other: En-Nesyri had scored two goals before the World Cup, yesterday he had 16. Former Roma player Lamela has never been so perceptive. Rakitic appeared ready for retirement and was suddenly reminded of how to get the team rolling. Ocampos had left for Ajax earlier this year where he didn’t touch the ball. An absurd transfer considering that the Argentine was very successful in Seville: he returned home and was born again. In January, Monchi finally completed the purchase of a centre-back, France’s Badé. Fernando’s return from a long layoff gave the center confidence, even though the Brazilian was injured again last night and burst into tears. Gudelj, a guy who is considered rude and awkward, allowed himself a cross from Rabona at a certain point yesterday. That said, Mendilibar have truly revitalized a side that suffered from the always exposed nerves of Lopetegui and Sampaoli, played full of fear and are now having fun again.
Corporate issues deserve a final chapter. Because what was tense on the pitch continues to be untenable off the field. Former President Jose Maria del Nido has taken the current leadership, led by Pepe Castro, to court, whom he accuses of effectively stealing his shares thanks to his son Adrian Del Nido. We let you imagine the state of relations between the two family members. The court has currently halted Del Nido Sr.’s lawsuit and blocked his coup, but the litigation is still very open. In all this chaos, between the Segunda nightmare and the family feud, Sevilla found themselves in their talismanic competition, the Europa League.
Apr 21, 2023 (Modified Apr 21, 2023 | 1:08pm)
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