José Luis Mendilibar appeared in front of the media for the first time as coach of Sevilla FC. The man from the Basque Country spoke about his first hours at the club: "The first two days have been all over the place. Arriving, signing the contract, training twice, there has been no time for anything else but I am ecstatic to be at such a big club with great players and that the club has chosen me."
Asked about his objectives for the rest of the season, he stressed the importance of taking things day-by-day and how happy he is to become coach of Sevilla: "The objective is to focus on each game as it comes. There are ten days until we face Cádiz and this is our first and only focus. There are many coaches like myself who haven't coached in a while and are very excited to be able to do so, especially if it's for a club like Sevilla FC, who make it difficult to say no. We will all get to know each other better as time goes on, we can finish the season with some good results and if things go well, it will be easy to reach an agreement."
With respect to his tactics, he spoke about adaptability: "It's not about finding the magic answer, I need to get to know the players. I could come with a specific idea and I have to make sure that it is accepted by the players. As I said, we have ten days to get to know each other and then compete. The effort is always going to have to be there, the club is not used to being in this situation and it's difficult for the players. We have to take each game as it comes, keep our cool and compete as much as we can. Run, fight and show that you are better than your opponent so that you win".
On the situation of the team, he said that "it is what it is. Sevilla is used to being higher up and there is always one poor season. We will look to find the reason why that is internally. I have had time to see a lot of matches and seeing what I can bring to the table, with great footballers you have to keep their self-esteem up and I need to make sure they know how good they are. We have to help each other and believe that we can do this. There are eight teams within three points of each other and it doesn't matter your position because if you lose a match, you fall down the table. We have to focus on the first game against Cádiz, who are in a similar position to us. Sevilla FC is in this position for the first time, we have got to mentally prepare ourselves and get out of this, but we can't just think we are better if we are not going to put the effort in."
"We can't just think we are better if we are not going to put the effort in"
He was thankful to those who run the club for giving him this position, and he expressed his excitement to be involved in the Europa League: "It's my first knockout tie in Europe. The club is the biggest in this competition and what we are not going to do is just chuck it away. We will face a tough opponent, but I am sure that they respect Sevilla FC."
Talking about the footballers, he didn't speak too much about Joan Jordán and Dmitrovic, whom he has already coached: "We will have time to speak when everything has calmed down, so that I get to know players and staff at the club. I have a good relationship with Joan, when he came to Eibar he was an attacking central midfielder who had to work on the defensive side of his game and now I see that he has done that. There are many things that bring about certain changes, how we have to put together those we have available and get injured players back fit."
As well as appreciating the good relationship he has with Juan Díaz, coach of Sevilla's second reserve team, he highlighted his career and what the directors told him about his arrival: "I've been in the first division for more than 400 games, until now I've had to deal with teams that are competing in other areas that Sevilla don't normally find themselves in. But I've already said that there are many other coaches like me and they've chosen me, they all met with me and the mutual feeling was clear and from there you choose to come to Sevilla. There are few negative factors in coming here and above all I think that we are going to move forward, we have to bring out the best in our players, with training we will see that on a day-to-day basis and from there we are sure that it will come together."
"They all met with me and the mutual feeling was clear"
Mendilibar once again reiterated the importance of securing all three points in every game: "Winning is the main thing, taking three points. If we get three or four under our belt things will improve... what's clear is that we have to play well. Each coach has his own style and we have to do things well. In football it's easier not to concede than not to score goals, and from there we have to work hard as a team. Scoring goals is the responsibility of the whole team, we also have to start defending from the top and scoring goals from the back. I don't come here with an idea, as I say, the players have to understand it. The player has to be happy with the everyday aspects, he shouldn't get angry. And then analysing things is easy, what's complicated is finding solutions to all that. You have to organize all that data, knowing your team's weaknesses, you analyse it... you can prepare your strategy, from the start of the match and everything that comes after and then a shot hits the post or goes in and you score a goal. Football has many other factors and mentally we have to be strong, there is time to recover from the daily work."
To close, as well as talking about his excitement at the prospect of extending his contract if there is an agreement and about the demands of the fans, he spoke about his first words to the group yesterday: "The message on the first day is not easy. During training I don't stop, I don't shut up and I get on your nerves. There are a lot of people away on international duty, but we have 10-11 players to make them understand things. The only thing is that things are flowing and they have to pick up those things little by little. It's difficult to change from the start and for everything to go well, but the coaching staff are on the ball."