Jorge Sampaoli at the press conference
First team


The coach spoke about El Gran Derbi, tomorrow's opponents, the mental impact of having a World Cup so close and the need to get players on board with his philosophy
Cuerpo Superior

Jorge Sampaoli spoke to the media on Tuesday in a lengthy interview, in which he spoke about the aftermath of El Gran Derbi, tomorrow's difficult game against Real Sociedad and the fitness of his players: "Those who played are recovering, trying to make the most of the time so that they are recovered enough to play well tomorrow against a good team."

"Nianzou is feeling a bit better and we will evaluate him tomorrow. Fernando has been training at medium intensity and maybe he can help us with some minutes due to the long period of inactivity he had. We have some players that we aren't sure about, like Papu and Acuña, who have some issues. We will know better tomorrow."

Before going into detail about tomorrow's game, he looked back to Sunday's game: "The feeling that I have being amongst this group of players is that we had enough control to be able to win it but we couldn't. At the same time, in the run-up to the match, everyone imagined that Betis were going to be all over us and that didn't happen. There are mixed feelings because the game was in our favour, but the result wasn't."

On what happened off the pitch, he believes that "it's part of the derby atmosphere that creates a bit of reaction when someone doesn't get what they want. It's all part of it, but it ended quickly and I don't think it was important enough to highlight, because all that's important is what happened on the pitch."

"We are in a tough spot. We have had a very long stretch of matches without time to recover. We have yet another match against a good team and we hope to play a decent game and win to get out of an awkward position that this club is not used to."

"I think they are a very balanced group of players, they have a clear idea, they have strengthened the squad well and they have structure. They are one of the strongest teams at the moment and for us, it is a tough test if we want to come away with the win. We'll have to play a smart game to find the spaces that will allow us to come out on top."

"It will be a tough test and we have to find the space to come out on top"

"It's the context that makes things uncomfortable, It's a matter of having a team that is normally used to winning. We have to try to solve it step by step, match by match and get a collective response and self-criticism from within. The team is finding their form and what it needs is to get players on board and find its philosophy. There is a lack of consistency in effort when we look at players who are going to the World Cup."

"It's a complicated task mentally because the World Cup is on the horizon and perhaps that makes it hard to focus. It is complex for many teams, but for us, as we are, tomorrow is like a final. If we think it's a game to say goodbye to those who are going to the World Cup, it's a mistake, because we have a lot at stake."

Furthermore, after confirming that there will be a rest next week before starting to prepare for the return after the World Cup, he made it clear that his intention is to go with the international players for the Cup match: "I'm going to count on the best players I have. If there is an agreement with the club, they will be released, but I intend to use the best squad I have for each game."

"Nobody can complain now because this should have been sorted out a long time ago. Playing a World Cup in November and stopping a competition? But it went ahead and FIFA decided that it should be played in a place and at a time of year when it shouldn't have been played. All for a deal that we all accepted, so let's move on.