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First team


The coach spoke on a number of topics ahead of the trip to the Canary Islands
Cuerpo Superior

It was an extensive and reflective press conference from Quique Sánchez Flores ahead of Sunday's game at Las Palmas. It's a game in which the coach is stilll aiming to consolidate the team's main goal: "We want to continue nailing down positive results that will allow us to close the season by showing that playing in a state of optimism is better than playing with fear. That can have such a debilitating effect on the team. We need to take the game to the opposition. The players have huge potential and it's up to us to make something happen. For that we have to perform well in every game, like we do on our best days.

"As journalists, you know better than anyone, because you are partly the ones who issue the positive and negative criticism, how a coach's credibility works. A good result can do wonders for it, but a bad decision or a defeat can change that easily. For me, all that matters is to be a good person, a good coach, to be sincere and honest. I want to do things well, to guide the team to safety, to move things in the right direction and pure and simply those are the aims for the rest of the season. There are a lot of teams who want what we want, who want to pull us down and don't want us to beat them. We work better as a unit than as individuals. Let's judge a little less, let's be a little less harsh, and give the boys some breathing room," he implored the media.

He was also asked about Lucas Ocampos, who will hopefuly be fit to play: "Lucas is a very important player because he is very competitive. He has been very important in many of the club's achievements and every time I've managed against him, I've thought it was better for me that he was on the bench than on the pitch. Wherever he plays, he's always good. With us he started as a striker, moved to the wing and in one game he was also in midfield. I would like him to be more of a winger than a defender, and he knows that. This is a system that is defined more defensively or offensively depending movments between the lines. I would like us to be more offensive, put more crosses in and be more decisive. We select players who I think can do it and Lucas can definitely do that."

"Securing the points allow us to end the season in the right frame of mind"

Quique is well aware that the league position prevents individual players from performing at their best: "We haven't earnt the right yet, we are very aware of the limitations of being where we are in the table. We know that this situation is providing the press with plenty to talk about. These guys play with enormous weight on their shoulders, having the success of a historic club on their backs and with thousands of fans behind them. Of course it affects the team. It weighs me down too, but we don't say it much because we don't want it to sound like an excuse. Hopefully we can get this out of the way soon."

He was also asked about his adaptation to Sevilla as a club and a city: "People are nice here. I don't tend leave the area around the hotel, but everyone is very friendly. When they feel the need to demand more they do so, but I feel very connected to Andalusia, to Sevilla and to the club. I am happy, but also aware of the tension that comes with our current predicament." Changing the subject, he was asked about the incident at Getafe a fortnight ago: "The situation will improve and hopefully your children and grandchildren will be able to see it. Or you, given your youth. I hope that decency prevails. It is a privilege to go and watch the matches live. Whoever goes must recognise that. We want to play in front of good people. Those who come just to vent their anger should stay away."

He also thanked Fernando Navarro and Emilio de Dios for their work: "They are two people, both Emilio and Fernando, who are loved here. We have spoken at length and had a hug when hearing the news. Our paths will cross again in football and I want to thank them publicly here, because they have contributed a lot to the club. I respect the club's motives because they know more about the relationship than I do, but we are very grateful to them." Quique was then asked about the injury status of Djibril Sow: "We have other midfielders and will find a solution, but Sow gives us many things. He is not at 100%, but he is very intelligent and has a great engine. He covers the ground very well. He also carries attacking threat and we have been asking him to do more damage around the box. He is an important member of the team hopefully he will recover as soon as possible. We've talked to him, he went through a similar injury before and knows the path to recovery, which will make it easier."

"Las Palmas are a very dangerous team"

Quique admitted that it won't be easy, but expects his side to continue the momentum: "What we want to show the fans is that we want to pick up as many points as possible and give them peace of mind going into the final games. Las Palmas have their own way of playing. They had 78% possession against Athletic, 54% against Madrid and 76% against Valencia. But there are areas we can target to put them under pressure. We have a plan, we just need to execute it. They are a team that defends resiliently from kick off. They close down the spaces and make it difficult for the attacking team. Almost all their opponents have struggled to get control of the ball, but there is always a chance to exploit them. We can't afford to sit back. We're going to play our game, create chances and hopefully win the game."

He also spoke about his relationship with Sergio Ramos: "We've both been in the game for 20 years. Despite being a coach, sometimes we speak like two footballers and discuss how the times have changed. I know that I'm coaching a magnificent player and I feel privileged to have played a part in his career. It's great for the club to have a player like Sergio, his presence in the changing room is incredible and is something that any coach would love. We won't discuss his future, our priority is on the rest of this season."

He then addressed Mariano's situation: "Every day he trains better or hides his pain a little better, that is always a possibility. We can only have 26 players and sometimes we have breaks between training sessions. We try to keep Mariano fit but sometimes these breaks don't help him. He's working hard, but he hasn't quite fully recovered from his injury." Finally, he discussed next week's 'Feria de Abril': "If they don't win, they'll spend the Feria at home. Winning is a bonus for the fans, but an obligation for the players. If the players get to go to the Feria, it's because they deserve it. However, it will be the last thing on our minds if we don't get a positive result."