Sevilla Back at Sevilla
Monchi is back home, and he’s not only there for Christmas. He hasn’t taken a step back, but two steps forward by rejoining Sevilla.
When the club offered him a role he couldn’t say no after his experience in Rome. He matured in Italy, grew with the criticism and has a clear path to follow.
He’s started that journey with a risky bet in hiring Julen Lopetegui, but he’s sure that they’ll succeed together, as he explained when he sat with MARCA.
We’re at the second break now, about a quarter of the way through the season. What do you think of what you’ve seen from Sevilla?
After two months there are positives and negatives. There have been moments that have made it a little less beautiful than we’d like it to be, but that can happen when you have a summer like we did. From that point of view I’m a lot more optimistic because I knew it’d take time to become great.
And the rest of LaLiga Santander?
It’s going to be a closer tighter league than three or four years ago when Real Madrid and Barcelona got to 100 points. Atletico Madrid were there too and the rest fought for what was left. This year there will be eight or nine teams fighting for three or four places.
Is there an obsession at Sevilla to return to the Champions League?
Not an obsession or a desire, but an ambition to. Making it to Europe can’t become monotonous because then we’d lose the essence of it. But with this squad, that has to be the minimum objective. We want to keep growing and there’s no better place than the Champions League.
How would things have changed with the Champions League money?
Not being in it affects planning a lot. Our income is what it is, so when you take away the operating costs you only have the players left [to generate money]. That’s why Pablo [Sarabia] and Wissam [Ben Yedder] were sold. It’s not that I went crazy and forgot they were the main goalscorers. It wasn’t an option, it was an obligation.
If you could have, would you have kept Ben Yedder?
At least I’d have had the choice. But it wasn’t an option. I had to generate money, it was a pure obligation. Maybe if we didn’t have to we would have sold him anyway.
How worried are you about the striker issue?
It might sound silly, but it’s the thing I’m the least worried about. If I do an interview during the next break and we haven’t scored, then maybe I’ll start to worry. We have strikers, they’ve all scored goals and I see them train too, I see how they follow the coach’s orders.
Luuk de Jong has very specific characteristics. Is someone of his profile something Lopetegui asked for?
Yes, obviously. De Jong does things that people overlook. In defensive and attacking transitions he’s good, and we wanted a player with his characteristics.
It seems as though the noise on the outside doesn’t affect the coach’s position.
I don’t read the press and criticism doesn’t affect me. It’s childish and not real. I think the coach knows what’s happening. The important thing is to know how to plan your road map. I always admit when I’ve been wrong.
You look very comfortable with Lopetegui. How do you see him fitting with the city, the club and the fans?
There are always doubts until you really know the coach. Julen has presently surprised me. Everyone told me that he was very professional and he’s won me over. When I see someone like him I fall in love, so I’m very happy to work with him.
If you’re not worried about the goals, how do you feel about Sevilla conceding with almost every shot faced?
The feeling I have is that a lot of goals are scored against us with very few shots, but I don’t see them as mistakes. Tomas [Vaclik] is a good goalkeeper and we have to support him.