August - November 2020
My first four months as Sevilla manager has come to a close with the boys impressing me in our time together so far.
We started off strongly winning six straight games with my competitive debut coming against Osasuna in the first game of the LaLiga season. Luka Jović, our big money move in the summer, opened our league account with an 8th minute strike. The Serbian’s goal gaining us our first three points under my management.
We followed that up with back to back home victories against Rayo Vallecano and Real Sociedad. Pablo Sarabia impressed early on scoring a brace in the game against Vallecano and grabbing the winner against Sociedad.
We then had our first European game of the season, travelling to Ukraine with a heavily rotated side. Goals from Wissam Ben Yedder, getting his first start of the season, scored a brace, before Luka gave us the last minute winner. Wissam Ben Yedder is beginning to complain about his lack of first team minutes, as is Munir our current third choice striker. The pair have started a combined three games since Luka’s arrival and interest in the pair is growing.
We continued our 100% start with wins over Celta Vigo and Espanyol with Éver Banega and Luka Jović scoring in both games. Our perfect start then came to an end at the conclusion of September as we drew with Getafe and Sparta Praha before our first losses against Barcelona and Real Betis.
The losses were disappointing but we lost to one of the greatest teams in the world in Barcelona and Real Betis who have started very strongly and sit in 3rd place so far. Both games were tight and we arguably deserved more against Barca but it wasn’t to be.
Following the losses we beat Villarreal with Roque Mesa scoring his second of the season and then a massive confidence boosting win against Marbella in the first leg of the Copa del Rey. Luka scored his first hattrick for the club in the 6-0 victory and we impressed albeit against a much weaker side.
Going into November, we saw a lack of consistency plague us again as we drew against Granada, lost to AS Saint-Étienne, a big 3-0 win over Athletic Bilbao before being embarrassed by Atlético Madrid.
The strike duo of Antoine Griezmann and Diego Costa ripped us to shreds as the league's shared top scorers were unstoppable on the day. Atlético have been by far the best team in the league over the past two years. But losing 5-1 is unacceptable. Before the game our defense had impressed with us being the third best defense in the league in terms of goals conceded. It was certainly a wake up to myself and it shows how far we are from our goals of being the best in the country.
Impressively we followed that disappointing result with a massive 4-2 win over Desna, which sets up a thrilling final Europa League game. A win over Sparta will see us qualify for the next round as the top two, sat on 9 and 10 points will play each other. We currently sit third on 8 points with two wins, two draws and a loss, but beating bottom of the group Sparta will ensure our progression.
Our start sees us sat 6th in the table, in a ridiculously tight battle from 2nd-7th separated by just 4 points. Atlético Madrid are flying in the league with 11 wins already only losing to Real Betis and Valencia. We play the latter in our final game of December before the christmas break in what looks set to be a very important game in the first half of the season.
Valencia are currently a point ahead of us having had a strong start with loses only coming to Real Betis and Real Madrid, with a scoreline of 1-0 in both games. They will be a tough team to face but we will have a plan for the massively important fixture.
Following that game, I test myself against Massimiliano Allegri and his Real Madrid team, in our first game of the new year. Again Real will be a tough fixture as they are undoubtedly one of the biggest clubs in the world, let alone Spain. It will be a good game to see where we currently stand and I hope we are able to get a win at home.
The big game in February is against FC Barcelona. Having lost just 1-0 in the first game against them, we will have to travel to the iconic Camp Nou. Barca, who didn’t have Messi fit for our game in October, have a frightening attack with the likes of Eden Hazard, Messi, Suarez, Ousmane Dembélé and Nabil Fekir. It will take a large effort from the defense to keep them quiet, but I am confident we will be able to do such. Despite the 5-1 loss to Atlético, we have still conceded the 4th least amount of goals and would of been top of that list had we managed to keep them to the single goal
We have had numerous injuries this season so far, with the biggest injury being to young winger Alejandro Pozo. The winger I highlighted early on as someone who I wanted to feature throughout this season, suffered a hip injury a week before the season began, seeing him sidelined for two months, before straining his knee ligaments just weeks after his return. The injuries has slightly stunted his development, but since his latest return he is beginning to show his potential once again.
We have also seen our full backs suffer a number of injuries with Toni Lato spending six weeks on the sideline with Sergio Escuerdo and Gabriel Mercado each being out for five weeks. Mercado is expected to return to action in December having suffered a calf strain in training.
In terms of the finances, our dealings in the summer sees us stay in the positives with a balance of over €45,000,000. This has also seen the board grant me 100% of any money made through sales, go straight to our budget, a massive rise from the previous 30%.
In personal news, I have finally completed my Continental Pro License which I began last year whilst at Cincinnati which I am very proud of.
In terms of Cincy, they unfortunately failed to make the playoffs with new manager Jason Bent, seeing the side finish 10th in the Eastern Conference. Bent is seemingly dismantling the squad I built with the likes of Danny Wilson and Jimmy Medranda already being moved on, whilst Rui Rua, David Cooper and Rasmus Schüller all on the transfer list.
It was a much tighter game than I would of liked but the changes we made played its part in that for sure. Barca have only gotten stronger over the past couple of years and I really don't know how they are yet to win the league in this save!
The only season form was great, however, the inconsistency in October/November has seen us really fall off the title race unfortunately. Atlético are playing incredibly well and their first loss in all competitions came after 10 games which shows their quality.
It has been a good start at Sevilla in my opinion. There is still a long way to go but the platforms are in place for sure!