Pepe Mel says it is unrealistic for Real Betis to hope to beat Sevilla 5-1 on Friday, but that any win would help in their push for Europe.
Betis suffered a woeful 5-1 defeat in the season’s first Seville derby at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, but go into Friday’s reverse fixture three places and six points clear of Sevilla and in contention for Europe.
It is that push for Europe that has Los Beticos’ Coach prioritising three points over and above directly avenging last November’s humiliation.
“Would it be good to win 5-1? Definitely. But it is absurd and an unnecessary pressure, thinking that you can play a game to put five goals passed your opponent, especially if that team is Sevilla,” reflected Mel to AS this week.
“Our goal is not to win 5-1. I would sign now for a 1-0 win. It would mean many things for the fans, it will draw us closer to Europe and put behind us the defeat to Sevilla.
“Yes, Europe is possible, but there are plenty of games after the derby. Now I say – Granada has put us on the road. People above us will not drop their level.
“Real Sociedad and Valencia are likely for fourth and fifth and then there are three very good teams, Getafe who are made for Europe, Rayo Vallecano who no-one expected, and us.
“How do we go into the derby? “Well I imagine, at our best. Beating Granada has put us further along the path to Europe, which has made our remaining games even more important.
“Besides our historic rivalry, Sevilla are also going for Europe, whilst we also have a complicated schedule immediately afterwards. In the coming weeks we go to the Bernabeu and the Camp Nou.”
Mel was pressed to remember the 5-1 defeat and to explain what went wrong.
“Everything and everyone went wrong. I was the first. And from the beginning, because after four minutes we were 2-0 down.
“We were wrong collectively on a thousand things. The game passed over us, we were weighed down with nerves and the responsibility.
“I knew that the week after would be tremendously difficult. Those players who did not realise what it was to be in the derby, they were made aware forever, for the successive days.
“I understand that hurt, it was mine first…
“But it was one game! In general, I think, the season is already remarkable for Betis and in June we can be awarded an ‘A’.”