Under-fire Julen Lopetegui is not fazed by the visit of Manchester City as he bids to turn around Sevilla’s worst start to a season in 41 years.
The Spanish side have collected just one point from their opening four LaLiga matches and were whistled off after Saturday’s dismal 3-0 loss to Barcelona.
The immediate outlook seems a daunting one with Premier League winners City next up at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium for their Champions League Group G opener on Tuesday.
Yet it was a difficult summer for Lopetegui’s side with a number of departures, including key pair Jules Kounde to Barcelona and Diego Carlos to Aston Villa, and the former Spain coach is confident things will settle.
“It is easier to manage everything after a victory but in defeat I believe the team has shown strength,” Lopetegui, who guided Sevilla to fourth in LaLiga last season, told reporters at a press conference.
“In these circumstances, the team has shown capabilities of overcoming big rivals in moments, with the feeling of wanting to grow in adversity.
“I want to highlight that in the team. If you rip out a lung and a heart (Carlos and Kounde), you have to try to regenerate again and compete.”
Sevilla have a new look this season with former Real Madrid playmaker Isco – once linked with City – and ex-Manchester United midfielder Adnan Januzaj among their recent recruits. Former City winger Jesus Navas could face his old club.
Lopetegui is well aware of the size of task his side faces against City, whose coach – Pep Guardiola – he regards as the world’s best.
“I believe that, yes,” he said. “It is hard to say but, from my perspective, in a very complex world, I feel he has been consistent and continued to grow in all his teams.
“The City coming here are a rival of a very high level – one of the best in the world.”