Sevilla struggling but is sacking Julen Lopetegui the answer?

These aren’t fun, creative times for Seville, but paraphrasing the famously sarcastic barb Oscar Wilde penned in The Importance of Being Earnest offers a critique of their recent record when it comes to managerial appointments: “One Firing managers can be viewed as bad luck; Screwing up seven of them looks like carelessness.” I explain.

Sevilla could shock us all by beating Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League on Wednesday and finally breathing a spark of life into what has been an extremely dismal season so far. But don’t hold your breath. It would be an even greater shock if such resistance saved Julen Lopetegui’s job. The manager has been under siege for weeks, if not months; he is deeply unpopular with Seville’s erratic, articulate, ultra-demanding fans; his players seem either uninspired or bored with him, and frankly, turning the page might be the healthiest thing for everyone involved… him included.

But if Sevilla’s director of football Monchi, players, fans, local media or President Jose Castro believe that this would be a quick fix that will get the club out of the doldrums and put all the blame on poor old Lopetegui, they’d better think again . Sevilla’s recent managerial appointment record is quite shocking.

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Since Unai Emery departed in 2016 and beat Liverpool in Switzerland to win the last of Sevilla’s amazing hat-trick in the Europa League finals, the club have given seven coaching appointments – six of which were vacated almost immediately.

Battered and injured as Lopetegui is now, he was Sevilla’s only success in that period. In 2020 he also won the UEFA Europa League, quite exciting at that. But the average tenure of the six coaches appointed before him is just over five months each! pathetic. From Jorge Sampaoli (who is now under re-acquisition) at 10 months, through Eduardo Berizzo, Vincenzo Montella, Joaquin Caparros (twice) and Pablo Machin, this extraordinary club that came back to life in 2005 after not having won one big trophy for 57 years (10 since) – stuttered from one failed coaching appointment to the next.

When Monchi was briefly with Roma between 2017 and 2019, his beloved Seville made a full doggie to finish without him. He returned, bringing Lopetegui with him and there was continuity, back-to-back qualifications for the Champions League riches and another European trophy (the Europa League 2020).

There is no avoiding it, however, that Sevilla’s work in the transfer market has largely soiled the house since the epic deal in the summer of 2019 on Monchi’s return from Serie A. A fact that partly explains the desperate situation Lopetegui is in now.

Every single coach, whether great, average or journeyman, is dependent on the basic quality of his assembled footballers. There are minor exceptions to the criticism of Sevilla’s last six performances on the transfer market and no doubt some of you will want to argue with me about which they are.

In summary: Suso and Youssef En-Nesyri had their moments; Papu Gomez and Marcos Acuna too. Erik Lamela, on form, boosts Sevilla’s creativity; Gonzalo Montiel hints at skills. Small consolation compared to 30+ other footballers who have come in and left many times without making a huge impact.

Not to mention matching the previous record that Monchi had to score Dani Alves, Luis Fabiano, Renato, Seydou Keita, Ivan Rakitic, Wissam Ben Yedder, Adriano, Kevin Gameiro, Vitolo, Tomas Vaclik, Julio Baptista and Daniel Carrico discover or revive , Carlos Bacca, Enzo Maresca, Frederic Kanoute, Christian Poulsen, Geoffrey Kondogbia, Grzegorz Krychowiak, Vicente Iborra and the mighty Ever Banega.

Two things: Yes, I know that’s a long list of names to put in a column. But it only scratches the surface of Monchi’s success over the past two decades. Immerse yourself in a visual example of its peak performance.

Second, yes, I know I missed one of your personal favorites – which might include the fact that Monchi was overall responsible for creating an academy that produced Sergio Ramos, Jose Antonio Reyes, Antonio Puerta, Jesus Navas and Alberto Moreno hat and Bryan Gil… each of whom has won a European or World trophy at club or international level – or both.

The sharp drop (since really outstanding work when Jules Kounde, Diego Carlos, Yassine Bounou and Joan Jordan were signed in the summer of 2019) in new player acquisitions isn’t the only thing Sevilla have left in the quagmire. last season Los Rojiblancos an average of eight or nine injured players every month since December. Catastrophic.

Whose fault is this? The doctors? The physios? The fitness trainers? Unless Lopetegui is putting on horribly bad training sessions (in which case wouldn’t Monchi have intervened long ago?), he can’t be blamed for never having full or fully fit playing resources.

A crazy example is that Marcao, who was signed to partially offset the brutal impact of switching Kounde and Diego Carlos in the same summer, has not been able to play a single competitive minute since his arrival three months ago.



Álvaro Morata Goal 57 Minute Sevilla FC 0-2 Atletico Madrid

Another issue the 56-year-old Basque has no control over is his “noisy neighbors”. True Betis must have thought they were in purgatory for most of Monchi’s reign. Seville reached new heights, winning trophy after trophy, winning the majority of the passionate, aggressive city derbi, rose to global fame and earned hundreds of millions of euros through UEFA successes and unprecedented profits on their transfer market deals. Betis, on the other hand, bounced back and forth between relegation and promotion and was honestly sulky. But at the moment they are dynamic, spirited, their stadium is packed with noisy, happy fans and above all they are reigning winners of the Copa del Rey.

All this adds bitterness and pangs to the anger of the red-whites who gave up Lopetegui. It’s not his fault Betis are brilliant to look at but he may have to foot the bill.

Although Lopetegui’s level of performance has fallen from “remarkably good” to “Seville has lost its panache and cutting edge” to “they’re in big trouble!” over the three years he has been in charge. genuine mitigating circumstances exist. However, with a record seven wins from the last 21 LaLiga games last season, what appears to be a title fight and qualifying for the Champions League on the final day of play, those circumstances are unlikely to save the poor chap from his job.

What makes it worse is that the impoverished performance this season means he and his team have won just 38 of the last 84 LaLiga points in the game. Last March they were fighting for the title – they were in second place and six points behind Madrid with one game against Madrid Los Blancos come. Now they are battling for 17th place from the relegation zone with five points from seven games. Europe, too, has seen a sudden litany of defeats against teams that Sevilla would have routinely eliminated for the past 15 years.

The ultimate disgrace for “Mister” Lopetegui (and a brooding threat to anyone charged with the takeover in the immediate future) was laid out by Papu Gomez. One of the clear successes in the transfer market in recent times, ‘El Papu’ returned from international duty after Argentina was quoted as saying that every smart player has his head on the World Cup far more than LaLiga or Champions League business will focus until Qatar 2022 begins Nov 20

“This last month before the tournament starts will be complicated,” he said. “Let’s see where everyone’s mind will be. How focused are the guys. In all sincerity, that is the truth of the situation.”

Admirably open. And at the same time frighteningly menacing.

Just as Sevilla, Lopetegui and Monchi require every player to fight for every header, tackle, loose ball and 50/50 challenge, Papu says there is a temptation to put the interests of the national team first . Protect oneself; not Seville.

There is something about Lopetegui and World Cups. I was there four years ago in Krasnodar for Russia 2018 when an ebullient and confident Spain saw their chances of fighting for the trophy slashed by Lopetegui’s naïve belief that he could organize the job at Real Madrid and announce his post retained by Spain throughout the tournament. Boy did he judge THAT badly. He was sacked and sent on a plane home before Spain angrily kicked a ball.

Even if Lopetegui somehow makes it through the next few games, with some older players saving himself for what’s about to happen in Qatar, he’ll immediately hit that awful Bermuda coaching triangle if he has a long period of inactivity during that most of your best players aren’t training with you makes usually-stressed clubs, boards, presidents and owners ultra-trigger happy. The itching to the sack often becomes irresistible.

When they’re without one of only two coaches to lift Sevilla a trophy in the last six years, Monchi’s work on redevelopment and improvement must be incredibly successful. Above all, Sevilla lacks a killer goalscorer and a sovereign, permanently fit central defender.

To give Monchi credit, he’s a go-getter when it comes to explaining his philosophy, his hit/miss rate, and generally for lifting the lid on this dog-eat-dog transfer world he’s in has dominated authoritatively for the last 20 years.

A few months ago he told Radio Marca: “Now the Sevilla we built is nothing like it was 10 or more years ago. The clubs ‘know’ us now, know that we are looking for players , which are being polished here.” , then we manage to get a big resale profit for us. So they try to get bigger sales profits for themselves in the future when we negotiate to buy their footballers. So now we’re trying to buy players that are more finished items than young versions of Alves, Baptista, and Adriano like we used to do. This in turn drives up the purchase price.”

Monchi, the old romantic that he is, argues: “It’s fundamental that when a footballer hears that Sevilla want to sign him, I have to see his eyes shining with pride.”

Not something that will happen all that often if the current stagnant, injury-prone, antagonistic and underperforming situation at the club continues. It’s only for the best that everyone understands: Lopetegui’s sacking will not be a panacea for all her ailments. To you, Monchi. Sevilla struggling but is sacking Julen Lopetegui the answer?

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