I think you can accept the defeat to Barca. You could be playing at the highest ever level, and they could still win. You're early season form has been impressive and you appear to be locked in a monumental title race with Atlético Madrid. Hopefully you can turn them over and become the new dominant team in La Liga!
Paul King - Becoming Royalty
A loss against Barcelona is to be expected nine times out of ten. King has certainly impressed so far though!
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.
Imagine: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!
Justice: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.
Scott: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!
Not a bad start to the season. Good to see it being tight near the top, meaning only a couple of wins in a row could see Kings side rise up to 2nd. Hopefully Jovic continues to provide goals❤️
Position aside, you are very close to 2nd place. The Getafe fixture at the end of September seemed to be an unfortunate turning point, with your form going out the window since. With big games against Real Madrid and Barcelona on the not-so-distant horizon, you will need to be able to turn your form around soon to climb up the league. I do feel confident that you can bounce back though.
Late Drama Sees Sevilla Claim Vital Win
Wissam Ben Yedder came off the bench to give Sevilla a 2-1 victory over Real Madrid with his 87th minute strike.
In the first game of 2021, Real Madrid and Sevilla played out a thrilling spectacle at Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium. With all three goals coming in the last ten minutes, both sides had opportunities throughout the game that could have changed the outcome of the result.
On the stroke of halftime, Alejandro Pozo, who has found his way into the Sevilla side in the last few games, came the closest in the opening half to scoring. The 21 year old Spanish winger, who recently returned from a long injury lay-off, cut inside from his left wing and on the edge of the box struck the ball just wide of the far right post.
The second major chance of the game once again fell to Pozo. Luka Jović who caused Real Madrid problems throughout the evening, intercepted a throw in from Nacho, deep in the Madrid half. The Serbian star swiveled and played in a dangerous cross towards the six yard box. With the chance looking almost impossible to miss, Pozo’s attempt went straight at goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois. Paul King was clearly frustrated with the lack of finishing and substituted the winger almost immediately after the miss, with Quincy Promes entering the game.
With neither side able to put away their chances, King went on the attack bringing on French striker, Wissam Ben Yedder for defensive midfielder Marko Grujić. The switch worked almost immediately, as Luka Jović opened the scoring four minutes after the substitute. Franco Vázquez, another second half substitute, found left-back Sergio Escuerdo in space on the left wing. Escuerdo played a first time cross towards the back post, where Luka Jović met the ball having burst past Sergio Ramos and Casemiro to tap the ball in for the 1-0 lead.
With the Sevilla fans still celebrating, Madrid didn’t take long to find a reply, catching Sevilla on the counter just two minutes later. With captain Simon Kjær pushing high up the field, an intercepted pass allowed Borja Mayoral to find Gareth Bale who advanced forward. The gap left in the Sevilla defense had no time to react as Toni Kroos burst forward and found with ease by the Welsh winger. Kroos made no mistake in firing past Leandro Chichizola, who replaced Tomas Vaclik who was suffering from a cold.
As the scores were once again level, there was a clear rise in tension throughout the sold out stadium. As Madrid took the momentum, it was this time Sevilla who countered, as another intercepted throw in, this time by Roque Mesa, saw Luka Jović found with an easy pass. With the Serbian in the center of the pitch and just three defenders ahead of him with Wissam Ben Yedder in support, the striker played a pinpoint pass over the defenders allowing Ben Yedder to run on to the ball. One on one with Courtois, Ben Yedder placed the ball perfectly into the corner of the net giving Sevilla the win.
“Spectacular. What a victory. Real Madrid are one of the top teams in the world let alone country and we have outplayed them today. The boys have been phenomenal and we really could have and perhaps should have been a couple goals ahead before we eventually did score. But nonetheless, we were excellent and fully deserved that victory.” commented King after the match.
The win makes it one loss in ten for Sevilla who are beginning to show similar signs to the start they made to the season, when they went on a 100% run in the opening six games of the season. Off the back of the run, King sees his side sat in a Champions League spot in 4th, three points of 3rd place Barcelona but a staggering 11 points of the top of the league Atlético Madrid.
BigMaguire:It's tight but Atlético are seemingly running away with the league already. Barca do have a couple of games in hand on them but it already looks unlikely that we will be challenging.
Justice:That Getafe game was the real kicker, you are right. Its a shame as we dominated that game, their keeper had a 7.3 rating at the end of it. But thankfully it seems like we have turned a corner again with that making it one loss in ten. Hopefully we can continue that form into the last few months of the season.
The kind of result you needed! Good to see your form pick up again heading into the second half of the season. You have the opportunity to go on and make a real statement now, with a huge morale boost coming from WBY's late goal.
January 2020 Transfer Roundup
With the season coming to it’s halfway point we sit in a respectable 4th place, six points behind Barcelona in 3rd and seven behind Valencia in 2nd, who we have a game in hand over. But the halfway stage also coincides with the end of the winter transfer window, in which we were busy, bringing in seven players and seeing two departures.
The first player joining the team this winter, is 18 year old Egyptian number one, Tarek Mansour. The young goalkeeper who has been plying his trade in America, with a number of USL sides, and has been seen as a talent for the future for a number of years in my home country. The youngster made his Egypt debut at just 17 years of age, playing against Bolivia in a friendly that his side won 3-1. Tarek stands a large 6”4 and will provide back-up to current number one Tomas Vaclik as we look to move on Leandro Chichizola.
One of two young strikers who signed in January, Raúl Vía who joins from league toppers, Atlético Madrid. The 16 year old entered through Atlético’s youth academy in 2020 and made his competitive first team debut for his former side this year, coming off the bench against Roma as an 89th minute substitute. Despite hopes being high for the youngster, he was yet to sign a professional contract with Atlético, allowing us to swoop in and sign the talented prospect. Since arriving, Raúl has already made his league debut for us, coming off the bench in our 2-1 win over Girona.
Another Madrid produced striker, this time coming from Real Madrid. Roberto Benito is another name who the nation has high hopes for as the 16 year old joins the club for a compensation fee of €925,000. Like Raúl Vía, Roberto was yet to sign a professional contract with his former team and once again we had a deal agreed. He comes in having spent last season on loan at Navalcarnero, who play in the same division as our second side Sevilla Atlético. There, he played 7 league games, scoring four goals impressing across the nation. Both he and Raúl will be training with the first team squad in order to develop the pair as soon as possible, whilst playing matches for the under 19s side.
Saba was a player who managed to impress our scouts with his technique and determination and was tipped as someone who could be a diamond in the rough. He has a long way to go but if we can unleash the potential he will be a very good deal for just €23,000. The Georgian has impressed in the past two seasons in Georgia’s top division, and will be sent out on loan for the remainder of the season. Saba will join Gimnàstic de Tarragona who play in the division below LaLiga which will give him a good level of competition to get his life started in Spain.
Belgian defender, Cyril Maury was another young player brought to my attention by my scouting team. Featuring at five time Belgian top division winners RFC Liège, Cyril made his debut at the age of 15 for the now second division side. The defender has a good understanding of the game at his young age with a knowledge of where to be whilst also being determined to work hard. Technically he still needs to develop but we believe at just €28,000 he is an investment worth making.
Like Tarek, a player who had been causing waves in America, playing for US Academy side Lonestar, the Japanese fullback made a staggering 74 appearances for the team last year. Another player who is driven in his pursuit for success and is another sign of the sort of group we are trying to build here. Like Cyril, Tsubasa has a lot to do in terms of his technical ability but we expect him to be challenging for the left-back position in the coming years as long as we can tap into his clear potential.
By far the most exciting of the arrivals is Álvaro Coelho, the 18 year old left winger who joins us on a deal costing €12,500,000, the second highest fee I have ever paid for a player. But he is worth it. With reported interest coming from Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Juventus, whilst Manchester City also had a bid accepted for him, we managed to get a deal agreed just in time. Having current Italian and English champions as well as the top six English teams interested in Coelho shows just how talented he is.
At just 18 he has starred for Boavista in the Portuguese Liga NOS, Portugal's top tier, making ten starts for the team this season. Having a bid rejected early in the summer, Coelho made it clear he wanted to leave and our board ensured the youngsters joined despite the fee being outside of our budget. With electric speed, I am very excited to see him develop and battle it out with Alejandro Pozo for the left wing spot for years to come. With the pair of them now at the club, I believe we have the next decade for our wings set.
Despite having some of the most exciting young wingers in world football at the club, the opportunity to sign a world class talent such as Julian Draxler was one we could not turn down. Out of favour at PSG, who have the likes of Neymar and Mbappe occupying their wings, Julian is still a player with immense talent. He will join the club in June at the age of 28, with tons of experience only matched by skill, the German will be a player who is able to guide the young stars we already have at the club whilst making a major contribution to our team. On a free, it was a deal we had to do.
The only permanent departure was that of Felipe Carballo, a 24 year old center midfielder who featured just once under me, as a second half substitute in a pre-season friendly. Carballo was always a player I thought would be leaving the club and with his lack of game time he finally agreed to a deal. The Uruguayan joins Perugia Calcio, who sit bottom of Serie A, for a fee of €4,100,000.
In year one, we have made a profit of €4,000,000 on transfers with a number of youth players joining us to bolster our academy sides, with a few players who have already made a major impact on the first team. We are very happy with our transfer dealings and can’t wait to see a number of these players impress over the coming years.
Justice:Ben Yedder's goal could be a massive point in this season, turning one into three on our nearest challengers for the champions league spot. It could be the biggest result of our season!
Some incredible young signings, and the signing of Draxler is a huge statement of intent, and a player of his class could seal a top 4 finish
Plenty of young players coming in, with some looking like they could go on to become world class players. Coelho, in particular, looks like he can make an instant impact with his speed and dribbling ability. Draxler coming in for next season will be massive for the club. He can provide plenty ability as a playmaker and as a goal scorer in wide and central positions.
Sevilla Seal Qualification
Quincy Promes 83rd minute strike sealed Sevilla’s qualification
Sevilla’s late comeback to draw 2-2 away to Stade Rennais has seen them qualify for the next round of the Europa League winning the tie 5-3 on aggregate.
Having won the first leg of their Europa League Round of 32 tie against Stade Rennais, 3-1, a 2-2 draw in France was enough for Paul Kings side to qualify for the next round. But it wasn’t a straight-forward game for the Spanish side, as it took goals in the 82nd and 83rd minute to equalise.
Leg one was a game that delighted Paul King as he saw his side dominate from start to finish as new signing Álvaro Coelho grabbed a brace on his debut for his new side. Coelho took both of his goals with a true clinical edge, sliding both into the corner, in a performance that pleased King.
“Álvaro (Coelho), what can I say, he was tremendous and it is no less than what we expected from him. A lot of people say we over spent on him but when you take a look at the teams who were interested in him and the quality he has already shown in his short career, I think we got an unbelievable deal. He has shown that quality tonight with the goals he scored and his overall performance. Hopefully his injury isn’t going to keep him out for too long and he can be back to impacting games quickly.” commented King.
Following his second and in the final minutes of the game, Coelho suffered a pulled calf, and he is expected to miss two more weeks of action.
Despite the excellence of their first leg performance, Sevilla struggled in the second as Stade Rennais made the better start to the game opening the scoring inside 20 minutes. Ramy Bensebaini converted a Jack Harrison corner from six yards out giving the French side an early lead. Despite Sevilla coming back into the game, it was again Stade Rennais who scored next.
Once again from a corner the ball fell to Clément Grenier who played a pass onto Englishman Jack Harrison on the edge of the box. The winger, who had a man of the match performance, took the ball in his stride before powering home what would of been a match winner had the scores stayed the same.
Having made a number of changes, Wissam Ben Yedder scored his second goal from the bench in as many games to give Sevilla control of the tie with just 8 minutes to go. The goal was Ben Yedder’s 8th of the season, having only started five games in all competitions under Paul King.
With Stade Rennais kicking off it took just 30 seconds for Sevilla to equalise as Pablo Sarabia played a delightful cross to Quincy Promes who duly tapped the ball home. The goal put the tie to bed as Sevilla qualify with a 5-3 victory on aggregate.
Paul King commented “We weren’t at our best during a large amount of that game, but we came out with the draw and the victory overall. That’s what is important and it is good to see that even when we aren’t firing on all cylinders we can still take something from the game. We will need to improve as this competition is only going to get tougher from here with some massive sides still left in it.”
King will be thankful that his team have avoided some of those ‘bigger’ sides with the likes of Ajax, Roma, AC Milan, Chelsea and Tottenham also qualifying for the next round having finished 3rd in their Champions League groups. Sevilla will play against Turkish giants Beşiktaş in the next round after they defeated Dinamo Zagreb in the previous round.
Currently second in the Turkish Süper Lig, Beşiktaş topped their group containing Sporting Lisbon, Royal Antwerp and Hapoel Be’er Sheva, who feature Roland Lamah, a former Cincinnati player under Paul King. The 13 times winners of the Turkish top tier will be a tough test for Paul Kings side and Sevilla will have to be at their best to qualify for the quarter finals.
The first leg will be played at Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium before heading to BJK Vodafone Park in Turkey for the all important second leg.
BigMaguire:Draxler is a player we just couldn't give up. On a free he is going to be a massive boost to this team when he joins in the summer and I am excited to using him.
Justice:Coelho was someone I saw pretty early into my time at Sevilla but my scouts took a while getting all the info on him. We waited for Jan to make sure we weren't making a mistake and he has already proven with his two key goals in this tie, that he is a player with great talent.
A tough tie ahead in a hostile country for away supporters to say the least against Besiktas.Hopefully King can see his side progress. Great stuff against Rennes also to get to this stage. Shows the team has gile and spirit to come from behind like that
Further Frustration For Sevilla
Lionel Messi sealed another Barcelona victory as ten man Sevilla rue penalty miss in 2-1 away defeat.
Barcelona continue to put pressure on league leaders Atlético Madrid as they defeated Sevilla at Camp Nou, 2-1 in a game that saw Quincy Promes miss Sevilla’s fourth penalty in a row.
In a game that Barcelona controlled from start to finish, Luis Suarez opened the scoring for his side in the 34th minute. Nabil Fekir found the prolific striker in space and the now 34 year old had no problem in opening the scoring for his team.
The Catalan side continued to dominate, ending the game with 23 shots, but Sevilla had the opportunity to equalise on the stroke of halftime. Alejandro Pozo, who has impressed lately with four goals in his last five games, was brought down by Nelson Semedo in the penalty area. With the penalty given, Quincy Promes stepped up, but saw his attempt saved by Marc-André ter Stegen. The miss makes it four penalty misses out of the four penalty attempts Sevilla have had this season with three different penalty takers seeing their attempts saved.
Lionel Messi, who missed the first game between the pair earlier in the season, made up for lost time against Sevilla by grabbing their second. Receiving the ball on the half-way line, the Argentine playmaker ran direct with the Sevilla defense backing off, before unleashing a shot from the edge of the box leaving the keeper with no chance.
Paul King once again bought on Wissam Ben Yedder, who has provided an impact in almost every game he has come off the bench in. Once again he scored having been bought on just two minutes earlier. Pablo Sarabia found the French striker in space in the middle of the Barcelona penalty box and Ben Yedder slotted the ball into the corner giving his side hope.
Sevilla thought they had those hopes granted as just three minutes later Roque Mesa tapped home a shot that had rebounded off the post from Jorge Meré. However, the goal was ruled to be offside and ecstasy turned to despair for the travelling fans.
A day of disappointment was compounded for Paul King and his side as with the game into added time, right back Gabriel Mercado, was shown his third red card of the season. The tackle, right in front of the Sevilla bench, left King fuming with the American clearly disappointed at his player who had only come back from suspension in the same game.
The result sees Barcelona further close the gap on Atlético Madrid to just three points with Unai Emery’s side having a game in hand on the current league leaders. It also sees Sevilla potentially slipping out of the top four as Real Madrid are now just two points behind Paul Kings team with a game in hand. With that game coming against 18th placed Getafe, Madrid will be expected to over take Sevilla seeing them slip down into a Europa League spot.
However, Paul King remains positive about his side.
“It’s a setback, there is no doubting that, we don't have our position in our hands. However, we still have to play Real Madrid in the final game of the season and that will be an exciting match to witness if things stay the same. But there is still a long way to go yet and we are confident we can finish in the top four and be playing against Europe's elite next season.” claimed King.
Sevilla now shift their focus to the Europa League with their Round of 16 first leg fixtures against Beşiktaş on Thursday being played at the Spanish clubs Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium.
BigMaguire:It will be a tough test but we will expect to come away from it as victors!
Good result in Europe to progress in the Europa League. Besiktas will prove a tough opposition to play against, but not a good team. They will prove to be mentally aggressive but if you can overcome that obstacle, you're well on the way to European glory.
Unlucky to lose against Barca. You could play at your best and still lose to a moment of magic from them. I think top 4 would be a good season. Securing Champions League qualification has to be the aim, and you are still very much in the race to do that.
Unlucky to lose against Barca. You could play at your best and still lose to a moment of magic from them. I think top 4 would be a good season. Securing Champions League qualification has to be the aim, and you are still very much in the race to do that.
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