Julen Lopetegui was the star guest this Thursday on A Balón Parado on Sevilla FC TV. The Basque coach, who on Monday in Balaídos celebrated his one-hundredth game in charge of the Club, showed his typical caution when asked about his objectives for the remainder of the season: 'I'm only thinking about Real Sociedad. The stats are only definitive when the season ends. Once it's over, everyone has the points they deserve. Every game has its own details, days of preparation and solutions. We remember every one, but the stats don't tell me anything more.'
LOPETEGUI ON ABP: 'I AM AWARE OF THE RESPONSIBILITY THAT MANAGING SEVILLA FC ENTAILS'
The majority of the matches have come in never-seen-before circumstances: 'This is a completely different situation than any football team has experienced. We are all in these new circumstances, but we have had to basically play two seasons back-to-back with twelve players having five days off. We have played a lot of matches in very little time: since July we have played 58 matches. It's difficult but we can't change it and we have to adapt. We try and fit our response to the difficulties of the situation while showing the best version of ourselves.'
Lopetegui is well aware of where he is and what's at stake: 'I feel the responsibility of being Sevilla FC manager. Firstly as a result of the people who have put their trust in me from the President, the Board and Monchi, and then all the fans. Knowing that we make our fans happy when we win is an extra motivation to push for our objectives.'
'Knowing how much it means for the fans gives you an extra push to go for your objectives'
August is a long time ago now for Julen, who doesn't forget the memories of Cologne but doesn't stop to think about it: 'When you look at what you have achieved, you lose energy that can be spent of what you have to do. Journalists usually want you to speak about the far-away future or the past, but they don't understand that at the highest level you live constantly in the present moment. It requires your full dedication and that's why I haven't spent too much time thinking about what has happened. I obviously have memories and it will always be in my heart. But when we achieve something here, we immediately look to our next goal.'
The question is, then, does he enjoy the successes? 'My wife often asks me this. I enjoy it in my own way. You don't have enough time to enjoy a win because as soon as the game is over you look to the next one. You focus on the next goal and the past is in the past. I don't think this profession allows you to enjoy too much what you have achieved. Elite football demands this and if you don't have this mentality you give an advantage to those who do.'
'When you win a game, you're already focusing on the next one. Elite football demands that'
During the programme, Julen was sent many messages and was asked about Monchi: 'We ate together in Madrid and we had never spoken that much in depth until then. In that moment, it became clear to me that I wanted to be at Sevilla. It was easy to come to an agreement and that first meeting with Monchi will always be a special memory. We saw we had a lot in common.'
Finishing off the interview, Julen spoke about the DNA of the Club and its employees: 'In some cases it's what I expected and in others I have been positively surprised. It has the good parts of a big club and also a family club. There is a lot of passion and self-demand in all areas of the Club. That works its way into the players and everyone who comes from outside.'