The coach of Sevilla FC, José Luis Mendilibar, has assured that he hopes that the team can finish “among the first two” in the group stage of the Champions League, which begins this Wednesday against Lens at the Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán, a dangerous team even though it is not “at the level of last season.”

“I want to have a good competition for the club, for myself and for the fans. I would love to be among the first two in this short group and be able to go to the playoffs. It is something new for me and if we manage to get through the group we will start thinking about other things. We must try to be among the first two, but not to silence our mouths, because I don’t have to silence anyone, I have to do things for us,” he declared at a press conference.

In this sense, he stressed that “it is always important to start by winning any competition, especially one as short as this one.” “We are playing at home, we have to have that small advantage. We are good; the two weeks before the game against Las Palmas were very good training sessions,” he stressed.

“The bad thing about this competition is that there is no one day to know if the players have recovered or not, but we have come from three weeks without competing, after the suspension of the match against Atlético de Madrid. We should be fine to play two games in three days, but knowing that we have a very complete squad and that anyone who was not a starter the other day can do very well,” he added.

He also insisted on the toughness of a group made up of Arsenal and PSV. “The Premier is the best league on the continent. Sevilla has already faced PSV before, in UEFA, and it always generated difficulties; it is an even match, there are no favorites. Lens was second in the French league behind the unattainable PSG and ahead of other great teams. It is an even group,” he stated.

In another order of things, the Basque coach analyzed the French team. “They have lost a couple of good players who have gone to other leagues. They have started badly, they have only drawn one game out of five played; they are still not at the level they were last season, when they were second. But they have a coach who has five years and I don’t think he will get nervous after last season’s achievement,” he explained about his counterpart on the bench, Franck Haise.

“He has a very clear style of play that so far is not giving him results, but he is not going to change and he is going to continue with his idea. It is a team that plays with three at the back, with two lanes, with two midfielders, with two playmakers and one up. The lanes are quite deep, they are fast on the counterattack, we can’t let them run too much. We have to be careful, we don’t have to look at how they are in their league. It’s better to look at what they did last season and why they are in the league. ‘Champions,'” he continued.

He also downplayed the fact that he had fewer days to rest than his rival. “We had to play on Sunday, they had to play on Saturday… What could have been the other way around? Yes. It’s difficult to balance the schedules of the games, but after coming after two weeks of rest they could have given us Saturday. But absolutely nothing happens. Those of us who are involved in these competitions cannot complain,” he explained.


On the other hand, Mendilibar announced that “it may be” that there are changes regarding the victory against Las Palmas. “The player will never tell you that he is tired, even if he is. This is a competition that everyone likes to play in and it is true that, even when tired, the mental issue is important to play these games. Those who “If they are going to come out they are going to do well, because I think the fatigue will not be noticeable if they already played on Sunday and those who come out new will come out like a howitzer,” he said.

In addition, he was full of praise for Sergio Ramos. “Sergio is a leader, he has been a leader everywhere, here too. He was a leader when he was 17. A leader is not made, he is born that way, and he is going to die being that. The normal thing is that in difficult moments, in moments of high competition, can help us, but anywhere: from the field of play and on the bench too,” he indicated.

The one from Zaldibar was visibly upset when they reminded him of his statements after Sunday’s game, when he assured that he had opted for Ramos to start due to his knowledge of the language and LaLiga. “I meant what I said. We have a style of play, period, and those who come have to do what we ask. It’s not that easy; football is universal, but each one has a style. Some adapt before others. others to a football style. He understands it and the players understand it.”

He also valued the possibility of playing with two forwards or with one. “Playing with one or two forwards is the same for me, what I want is to always play forward and close to the opponent’s area. If the two up top don’t work for me, it’s very difficult; I want to have the possibility of everything and for them to generate uncertainty for me “he noted.

Finally, regarding the Belgian Adnan Januzaj, he hopes that he will be “recoverable” after being on the “exit ramp” until September 1. “He has gotten his act together and has been training very well. He is not on the ‘Champions’ list and we hope that he gets in shape, because he is a great player,” he said, before talking about the state of the Brazilian Marcao. “We are going slowly, gently. He is showing us the steps because we don’t want him to have any relapse,” he concluded.