Sevilla bid farewell to to manager Julen Lopetegui on Wednesday night as the Basque manager was sacked in the aftermath of their 4-1 defeat to Borussia Dortmund. The decision was strongly speculated before it happened though and as was evident by Lopetegui’s goodbye on the pitch, all parties were aware of the situation.
Lopetegui stood out on the grass after the match, clearly emotional. He was moved to tears by the applause and singing of his name from the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, who showed their gratitude for an enormously successful run under Lopetegui.
Speaking in his press conference after the match, Lopetegui confirmed the decision more or less at the same time as the club did. Estadio Deportivo carried his words.
“Both the President and the Vice-President have communicated to me that I will not continue.”
He had plenty of words and appreciation for the fans afterwards.
“It’s a very demanding fanbase, and, at the same time, tremendously responsible, that gets behind [the team] when it’s needed. That last recognition I will take with me. It is one of the greatest things you can take from a club. I think this fanbase is intelligent, sovereign and knows what has happened during these three and a bit years.”
“I take that moment with me because it was very beautiful. I only have words of gratitude, I don’t want to think a single negative word.”
There may perhaps be a point to his phrasing too. The intelligence and sovereignty he refers to could well be a hint that both he and the fanbase understand that their poor form is not all down to Lopetegui.
There has been criticism of Sporting Director Monchi of late and loud chants for President Jose Castro to resign. Equally, the fans were intelligent enough to separate what for many was a desire for him to leave, but an acknowledgement of his excellent work for three seasons.
“Passing through this club ensures that one has their heart imbued with this feeling and this city, which is extraordinary. As much myself as my family, we are always going to be with Seville and Sevilla,” Lopetegui stated.