New Sevilla manager Jose Luis Mendilibar has given his first press conference since arriving at the club, and has asked his team not to think that they are better than their relegation rivals as they fight to stay up. On the flipside, his job is to remind the players how good they are, according to the veteran Basque manager.
Speaking to Marca, Mendilibar was asked what his message to the players was on his first day in charge. Signing on the dotted line yesterday afternoon, he took charge of his first training session just hours later.
“The first day’s message is not easy. I don’t shut up during training they start to pick up on what you want to do. We have time even though there are a lot of people out due to internationals and that will be difficult because they arrive late. And from there, start. The only important thing is that things flow. Day by day we will correct things and they will pick them up.”
In his eyes, there were no clear fixes to be made with this Sevilla side either, rather it was about an initial period of assessment and feeling each other out before attempting to go in a particular direction.
“There are no keys. I can come up with an idea but I have to see that it is accepted. The first thing is to get to know each other, see on which foot we limp and we have ten days to get to know each other better and from there compete. The effort will have to be there. The last ten years of the club have been at the top and this situation is difficult for the players, but we have to make them see that we have to go game by game and not go crazy.”
No doubt a big part of his job will be mentally recovering a team that finished fourth last season.
“I have had time to watch Sevilla and the players. With the ideas that I can bring, what I have that are great footballers now mentally down because of the situation. They have to make me see how good they are. We have to help each other. That we believe in each other.”
He also asked his side to match the effort and work that their relegation rivals will put in during the final 12 months of the season.
“We all see it as equal. Eight teams within three points. It doesn’t matter if you’re 19th or 14th right now. You lose one and you go to the penultimate place. Think of Cadiz. They are used to this situation, normally year after year. For Sevilla is the first in recent years. We have to get out of this, but we cannot think that we are better without fighting, without running, without playing.”
Mendilibar noted that if these two-and-a-half months go well, there would be no trouble finding an agreement for him to continue, but that he wasn’t getting ahead of himself. He also admitted that it was hard to say no to a club like Sevilla.
With his words about working out with which foot Sevilla are limping, and getting to know his players, there is a direct departure from previous boss Jorge Sampaoli. The Argentine coach tried to impose his exact vision on the Sevilla side, while Mendilibar appears as if he will take a softer approach.