Sevilla great Freddie Kanoute fancies his former side’s chances for Europa League glory to atone for their “very bad” start to the season.
Kanoute remains Sevilla’s highest-scoring non-Spanish player in history after netting 136 goals in 290 matches, lifting two UEFA Cups, a UEFA Super Cup and two Copa del Rey trophies during his time there.
The former striker has watched on as his old club struggled this term, dismissing coaches Julen Lopetegui – who is now at Wolves – in October and Jorge Sampaoli in March.
Sevilla have finally settled under the stewardship of Jose Luis Mendilibar, the LaLiga side reaching the Europa League semi-finals where they will face Juventus in a two-legged affair across this month.
Mendilibar’s team also sit 11th in the Spanish top flight and Kanoute remains relieved to see an upturn in form for Sevilla, who overcame Manchester United in the Europa League quarter-final last month.
Kanoute, speaking to Stats Perform at LaLiga x Bloomsbury Football League event, said: “There are no other words, very bad at the beginning, they were struggling a lot, a couple of changes of coaches, which always unsettles the team.
“In the last few weeks, they’ve been improving, winning some important games and, at least they’re not in the relegation battle anymore.
“I think they are ending the season quite well and it also reflects what they’re doing in the Europa League, so hopefully they’re going to have a great end of the season.”
Stéphane Mbia in the 94th minute!
#OTD in 2014, @SevillaFC reached the #UEL final thanks to some late drama against Valencia pic.twitter.com/WQ3gqvKM12
— UEFA Europa League (@EuropaLeague) May 1, 2023
Kanoute played in the Premier League for West Ham and then Tottenham before his move in 2005 to Sevilla’s Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.
The former Mali international scored 43 goals in 144 Premier League appearances but Kanoute believes there is little difference between two of Europe’s top divisions now.
“My record says that I’ve scored more goals in LaLiga, it’s not necessarily harder in the Premier League,” he added. “I think it depends on your style. It depends on the kind of football you’re playing.
“It depends on your understanding of the game, but I would say there are fewer and fewer differences between the style because football now is so global and you have so much influence from foreign coaches even here in the Premier League.
“I would say personally, where I enjoyed my football the most was in La Liga because that’s where I could win some silverware, but apart from that, it depends on each individual.”
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