Monchi’s shadow is so long in Sevilla that the former sports director of the Andalusian club signed Lenglet for Aston Villa when the Frenchman from Barcelona had done it with his former team. A Sevilla that appears against Atlético as bottom team after losing the first three games in LaLiga for the first time in its history (nil out of nine points). A team enveloped in a halo of pessimism because the story of last year seems to be repeating itself, when a bad league start hampered a season with three coaches (Lopetegui, Sampaoli and Mendilibar) that culminated, however, with the conquest of the Europa League and the consequent qualification for the Champions League. In the Andalusian capital, the draw for the Champions League, where Sevilla was in pot one, that of the champions, went almost unnoticed.
“I don’t think we should compare this season with the previous one. I arrived in April and now there is a whole season ahead of us”, affirms José Luis Mendilibar, the coach of last season’s miracle and now already in the crosshairs of the most critical. Losing to Atlético would mean a hard zero of 12 points when the first break of the year arrives for national team football. The coach publicly accused his players of not running enough after the second loss against Alavés (4-3) and those words did not sit well in a locker room full of sacred cows such as Navas, Rakitic, Fernando, Acuña or Suso. Sevilla has accused very late planning and some sectors of the club point to Monchi’s heavy inheritance by making a large and quite expensive squad. The great manager of the successes of the entity in this century is now the one indicated.
Víctor Orta, his replacement, has had a very busy summer in which the most difficult thing has been to send up to 12 players. Bond, Thecatite Corona, Rekik, Rony Lopes, Iván Romero, Papu Gómez, Montiel, Óscar, Carmona, Delaney, Agustinsson and Idrissi are no longer at Sevilla. Januzaj could not be released, finally registered.
Orta has tried to meet the coach’s requests with Sow, Pedrosa, Lukebakio and Soumaré. Gattoni, an Argentine central defender signed by Monchi, does not like Mendilibar, who requested his loan. Nyland, the Norwegian international goalkeeper, has arrived to partially alleviate the departure of Bono, one of the three best goalkeepers in the world, for 20 million to Arab football. At the insistence of Mendilibar himself, Sevilla pulled out the signing of ex-Madridista Mariano, with two goals in the League in the last three years. “We have brought in a third striker at practically zero cost,” Víctor Orta clarified.
After the name of Sergio Ramos fluttered throughout the summer, Sevilla have not signed the center-back they needed due to the eternal injuries to Nianzou and Marcao. There have been a total of eight signings made and the leaders no longer have the Monchi umbrella. “Three months ago we were lifting a title with Mendilibar, so I think we have to respect the work of this coach. We haven’t started well, but there is a long season ahead of us”, stated the president José Castro after the defeat against Girona (1-2) last day. While the ghosts of last season return, the Sevilla coaches expect the signings to offer good performance immediately. Those of Monchi last summer, in the case of Marcao, Isco, Januzaj or Dolberg, were a real fiasco.
“This team, which has defended poorly in the first three days, left Manchester City dry. All defend and all attack. And the fault of defending is not only the central defenders ”, Orta himself defended himself this Saturday. “Only one starting player (Bono) has left and we have reduced the salary cost by 20 million,” the executive concluded in a clear message to his predecessor, Monchi. The challenge is served in the Metropolitan, where Atlético has not lost since January and where Sevilla has not won for 15 years.
You can follow EL PAÍS Sports on Facebook y Twitterpoint here to receive our weekly newsletter.
Subscribe to continue reading
Read without limits