Jorge Sampaoli believes Sevilla’s comeback victory over Real Madrid firmly establishes them as LaLiga title contenders.
With five minutes remaining, Sevilla were trailing to Cristiano Ronaldo’s penalty, but found an equaliser when Sergio Ramos – the target of whistles and jeers from the home fans both on Sunday and in Thursday’s Copa del Rey meeting – headed into his own net.
And Madrid’s 40-match unbeaten run came to an end when Stevan Jovetic scored from distance in stoppage time, although Keylor Navas ought to have done better than parry the effort into the bottom-right corner.
Sevilla leapfrogged Barcelona into second in the table, a point behind leaders Madrid and Sampaoli believes the victory shows what his side are capable of this season.
“We were able to win against the league leaders and move within one point of them,” Sampaoli said.
“To play like this against a big side will elevate this group of players. I hope we’re capable of continuing to play this way, as we’ve done against a team that had been on a long unbeaten run. It was a deserved victory.
“If we equal great teams and get them hurt like today, we can do great things. Both today and on Thursday we were superior, and we want to continue with this.
“The key was not to give up. I lived the game with a lot of emotion. The breath of the audience is moving, and that makes the responsibility to play here double.
“For us, every game is going to be difficult. Now we have to take advantage of this stimulus to continue growing and improving.”
On the subject of Ramos, Sampaoli expressed his wish for the long-running feud between the defender and the Sevilla supporters to come to an end.
“I think Sergio’s misunderstanding with the fans has to end,” Sampaoli said. “Hopefully the relationship for the sake of Sevilla and the player reconciles because someday he could come back.”
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