Jorge Sampaoli has warned Sevilla that their derby with Real Betis on Saturday “is our only chance of moving top” of La Liga.
Sevilla’s superior head-to-head with Real Madrid means they can leapfrog Los Blancos into first place with victory over arch-rivals Betis, and Sampaoli is keen for his players to focus on the task at hand as opposed to be distracted by the frenzy of derby day.
“This game is crucial for Sevilla, yes, because we’re dreaming of that possibility [to fight for first place in La Liga],” the Coach said at a Press conference.
“Still, we’re facing a very complex scenario because Betis have had very good games [at home].
“It’s our only chance of moving top [of the table] and the time has come, but it’s not a turning point, no. We’re focused on looking for the victory.
“We are three points away and, if we can win a difficult game, we’ll make a dream come true.
“Externalities don’t matter, what matters is what happens on the pitch.”
Sampaoli also expressed his sadness about Leicester City’s decision to sack Claudio Ranieri, just nine months after the Foxes’ won their first-ever Premier League title and less than a week on from the two Coaches clashing in the Champions League.
“Ranieri? From the distance and for the respect that I have for him, it’s something that makes me very sad,” he added.
“Someone who achieved something unthinkable, to bes dismissed the following year …
“I don’t know what goes on at Leicester so I don’t know what happened and why it happened, but unfortunately we’re judged every week and no-one remembers what happened a week ago.”
Betis squad: Adan, Gimenez; Piccini, Mandi, Pezzella, Bruno, Donk, Tosca, Durmisi; Martinez, Cejudo, Jonas, Brasanac, Gutierrez, Petros, Pardo, Ceballos; Alegria, Sanabria, Castro
Absences: Navarro, Jose Carlos, Joaquin, Nahuel
Sevilla squad: Rico, Soria; Mariano, Carrico, Rami, Mercado, Pareja, Escudero; Kranevitter, Iborra, N’Zonzi, Nasri, Sarabia, Vitolo, Vazquez; Correa, Ben Yedder, Jovetic
Absences: Lenglet, Tremoulinas, Krohn-Dehli, Fernandez, Vietto
Referee: Del Cerro Grande
Kick-off time: 15:15 GMT/16:15 CET