First team


The Sevilla coach looked ahead to the Espanyol match at home tomorrow.
Cuerpo Superior

José Luis Mendilibar appeared before the media in his pre-match press conference ahead of the clash against RCD Espanyol at Nervión. On the state of the squad, the Basque tactician firstly stated that "those who played on Monday aren't yet 100%, but there's still 30 hours to go before kick-off and they'll recover. We know what we have and it's my choice whether they play more or less rested."

"From the other day, they are all fit except Tecatito, who has a temperature and couldn't train." Regarding one of the absences already known from the last few games, he also referred to the condition of Tanguy Nianzou: "Right now Nianzou was coming from a good training session with rehabilitation. He already had an injury and recovered in two weeks, we have to see how he progresses day by day."

Looking ahead to Thursday's game, he reflected on what happened on Monday against Girona: "It was positive because of the way we played and the way they played... our aim is to press up front, it's another thing if they have more pace when they come out with the ball. We all take risks, I like to take them further away from my goal... Espanyol are required to win and they still have the obligation to keep picking up points. They've changed their system of play, I don't know what kind of opponent we'll see. We know what they can give in every possibility and it's a bit of an unknown quantity. We have to do the job we did on Monday, even if the result didn't go our way, and we don't want them to do the damage Girona did to us. Now it's another team that in principle is in more of a hurry in terms of results, but winning the last game will have given them wings."

In addition, he was also questioned about the pressure or lack of pressure on both teams to win: "The pressure is good and bad. It's good because it makes you get into the game and not let you slip out of it but too much pressure makes you nervous, you're not right and you get a slap on the wrist... I don't know if it's good or bad to have less pressure. I like people to be involved from the start, to give them speed and intensity from the start and make it difficult for the opposition. If we do that well, it will be tougher for them, but if it's the other way around, it will be more difficult for us."

"Our aim is to compete in everything, but take each game as it comes"

He also spoke about what a victory would mean heading into the semi-final against Juventus: "Obviously a win is better than a loss. We would be on 44 points with a win and be in a positive mindset ahead of our trip to Turin, which would be better than feeling sorry for ourselves after a loss. But that's football. We have got to win tomorrow."

In that sense, he spoke about taking each match as it comes, as well as noting how impressive some of the opposition players are: "When I arrived here it was made clear to me that you can't throw any competition away, but at the same time you have to take one step at a time. You have to go up the stairs one step at a time, if you try and jump up three then you could trip up and struggle. Our aim is to compete in everything, but take each game as it comes... Joselu is in good form and he gives them a certain flow owing to his abilities. He is normally clinical in front of goal and he is a player that gives everything and helps them a lot."

Mendilibar also highlighted the work of Xavi Sintes, who received his first call-up to the first team squad on Monday: "Xavi Sintes is with us because we have injuries at the back. We could need him at a specific moment and he is doing very well, and would do a good job for us. We want him to know what we are about and he is fitting in nicely."

On other players, he spoke about the availability of some of the older players in the squad which has not always been the case this season, and on the state of Gonzalo Montiel: "I think that Gonzalo is doing well, but there is also depth in this position. With so many matches over such a short period of time we are having to make some changes, but I am happy because the team is following the instructions."

He also assured us on the fitness of Papu Gómez who "came back from a long period on the sidelines. As long as he keeps on playing I am sure that he will show us what he can do, but it's not easy. The fans are the most important and he plays for Sevilla. I would like them to support him, that he was treated just as any other player or wasn't singled out for criticism. We should treat our players in the best way possible, making the most of the players that we have in our squad."