"I'm not saying they are crucial, but they are two very important games. It was a very evenly matched group and that's how it's looking"
Ramón Rodríguez Verdejo, Monchi, Sporting Director of Sevilla FC, spoke to Sevilla FC Official Media this lunchtime to discuss tonight's clash with LOSC Lille: He began by stating that "I'm feeling good about it because I was watching the training session yesterday and they are ready for a complicated match, they're committed and that's the barometer, we need to win and we know that, on an individual level, Lille are the strongest team in the group. I'm expecting a very physical, intense, end-to-end match".
"For me, it's key. I'm not saying that we'll know for certain what's going to happen, but the group will be a lot clearer after these two matches with Lille. I'm not saying they are crucial, but they are two very important games. It was a very evenly matched group and that's how it's looking. Salzburg are leading the group on merit and this is the evenness that we expected, nothing is guaranteed", he continued.
"Lille are a very complete team who have not started well in the league, but they have a lot at stake today"
Monchi highlighted that "pace is one of their strengths, as are their transitions from defence into attack with very strong players, but they also have a top striker in Yilmaz who has found his high point aged 35. On top of that, they've got a midfield that manages the tempo of the game well, attacking full-backs... They are a very complete team who have not started well in the league, but they have a lot at stake today, it will be difficult".
The Sporting Director then commented on Sevilla FC: "We are growing. When you're growing, sometimes you have to stop and get back on track. We lost time during preseason and we're recovering. Positive results help you to do that, like in Vigo. It was good for us, especially due to how it happened, with important players out injured. That reinforces the team's spirit".
"Winning in Vigo was good for us, especially due to the fact that we had important players out injured"
"Having to give explanations about why we concede few goals says a lot about the size of the club, about how we never settle for what we have, it says it all about how much we've grown. However, you can't create frustration. At the moment, we're winning. Whenever we're not winning, we'll see, we won't speak about this subject, but having to explain why you win... surely we're doing something right if we're winning so much and conceding so little. What each person likes most is another debate, but I'm sure that all of us like winning", he continued.
To finish, Monchi spoke about Youssef En-Nesyri and the fact that fans can now travel to away matches in Europe: "He had an important muscular injury and it's better to delay his appearance than to have a relapse. He's playing it safe, he's walking a fine line, but we're nearer to seeing him again, of course. The fans being back is a reflection of the return to normality. We've already experienced it in Granada and to see so many Sevillistas here in Lille is very nice and an extra motivation".