At his pre-match press conference ahead of tomorrow's match against Huesca, Julen Lopetegui began by speaking about what the absence of Sergio Escudero means: "We're ruing Sergio's injury, hopefully his operation goes well, we hope he recovers as soon as possible and can return as quickly as possible. As Acuña is also missing, we have that handicap on the sporting front. It's Murphy's Law, it's happened and we have to look for solutions with the players who are here, give them confidence and compete with those who will be on the pitch. I won't reveal what I'm going to do it. We have various alternatives and we'll make the decision that we feel can help us most. Those players will have to adapt and Rekik is a player who is fit and available for tomorrow".
LOPETEGUI ON HUESCA: "THEIR POSITION IN THE TABLE DOESN'T MEAN ANYTHING"
Obviously, he mentioned the biggest story in football and how it has affected the Argentinians in the squad: "Firstly I want to offer my condolences to Maradona's family, all the Argentinian people and everyone in football. He will be eternal and we all know what he represented. We all feel it, but imagine the Argentinians. He has represented football but also the essence of that country in a passionate and demanding way. He is a role model for Argentina. They were sad, but it is normal. We showed our sorrow and we joined that worldwide feeling, that from now on he is a legend and he will always be eternal".
His next focus was tomorrow's opponents: "We have to do the usual. Play well, overcome a good opponent who have competed pound-for-pound in every match against important sides like Valencia, Atlético and Villarreal. They're a complete, well-crafted side who will oblige us to play well. We'll have to dig deep to be able to win and we have to be ready because they play football really well".
"They competed pound-for-pound against Valencia, Atlético and Villarreal"
Lopetegui then spoke about Huesca's position in the league table: "Their position in the table has nothing to do with the difficulty of the match. If there is one thing I assure you, it is that we are going to have to work our fingers to the bone. The parallel analysis is up to you, but we are going to have to suffer like many teams. They're an interesting team in many ways and they're going to force us into performing well. Where you are in the table neither gives you anything nor does it take away anything. Every match starts the same and the difficulties are going to be great".
The next topic was qualification for the Champions League knockout stages: "We already said in Russia that the aim of qualification was secured and now it's time to compete to finish as high as possible. Today it's LaLiga, we'll leave the Champions League aside until Tuesday and it's in LaLiga where we'll have to use all our energy to compete at El Alcoraz".
"Every match starts the same. The table neither gives you anything nor does it take away anything"
The manager was also asked about the 3-man and 4-man defences that were seen in Krasnodar: "When Escudero was injured, we had four at the back and there were good and bad moments with the two systems. Each formation gives and takes things away, but as I always say, what's important is the interpretation and execution of the play. There are always things to improve and this case isn't an exception. We'll do what we think will help us most to win and solve our problems during the match".
Sevilla FC are very demanding, and Lopetegui is fully aware: "The demands form a part of elite football and my club. Once you get here, you're aware of that within the club, the fans and the city itself. Those demands are in the club from top to bottom and we all have to have our ears up. There's no other way of competing". He also answered a question about Suso's absence: "He's injured. What he needs right now to be with us is health. When he's fit he's always performed and we're hoping he recovers so he can help us again. We hope he's back as soon as possible because he has been, is and will be an important player for us".
"The club is packed with demands from top to bottom. There's no other way of competing"
To finish, he spoke about his nomination for The Best prize: "I don't attach much importance to individual awards. I have nothing more to say. The only thing that requires my energy is tomorrow's game. Nothing takes us out of that focus and that is how we face this profession. Everything else is part of a footballing context that is outside of my focus".