Sampaoli: Ignore the stands!

Jorge Sampaoli has urged the focus to be on Sevilla and not their fans when Sanchez Pizjuan welcomes back Real Madrid on Sunday.

Thursday’s Copa del Rey last-16 second leg between the two sides was marred by crowd trouble on Sevilla’s part, with their fans showing no love to former player Sergio Ramos, but Sampaoli is keen to move on from the saga and see his side take an “important step” in the La Liga title race.

“My message to the fans is always the same. Hopefully things off the pitch don’t distract us, that our fans are with us and support us to beat Real Madrid,” the Coach said at a Press conference.

“Don’t look at what’s happening in the stands, only Sevilla. We must unify the stimuli that allow us to be strong.

“We’re only thinking about the game, that’s what we are dealing with, I haven’t talked to the dressing room about the controversy.

“Obviously Real Madrid are a product that sell worldwide so controversies involving them are much more so than other teams. I abstain from non-footballing issues.

“We hope to have the same approach [as midweek] so we can make the game unbearable for Madrid, knowing that our home will be very motivated after what happened on Thursday.

“It’s difficult for me to think that it’s going to be the same game, although [Madrid] will use Thursday’s match as a reference. Still, this will be a much more demanding match for us.

“Ronaldo? Players like him are decisive and among the best. We’re going to change our game plan in some respects and hopefully we’ll have the chance to have a great game for our fans and that they can take enthusiasm from us being near the top.

“The title? If we can do what we did on Thursday, with that excessive belief in an idea and sustaining it over time, we’ll be very competitive.

“When that doesn’t happen, we’ll be a team that are stuck in mid-table.

“Jovetic could start, as could Ben Yedder. We have been working on a game plan, but it’s the first time that I’ve had doubts in our preparation.

“A win would be an important step, but I think that Thursday’s game, although the victory wasn’t achieved, the team gave a clear message: that beating Sevilla is very difficult.

“A win wouldn’t guarantee our development as a team, but it’d still be very good for us.”

Tags Jorge Sampaoli