Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Lopetegui signs new deal with Europa League champions Sevilla

SoccerNews in UEFA Europa League 10 Jan 2021

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Sevilla have announced Julen Lopetegui has signed a new three-and-a-half-year contract as the Europa League champions’ head coach.

Lopetegui was appointed by Sevilla at the start of the 2019-20 campaign and led them to a fourth-place finish in LaLiga as well as the club’s sixth Europa League/UEFA Cup crown.

The Basque coach had previously seen his reputation take a hit.

He was sacked by Spain just before their 2018 World Cup campaign was due to begin as a result of accepting an offer to take charge of Real Madrid after the tournament, and he only lasted until October with Los Blancos before being dismissed again.

His first season at Sevilla saw the Andalusians finish in the top four after two campaigns out, though Lopetegui’s biggest achievement was presiding over their successful Europa League run.

Sevilla had to see off Roma, Wolves and Manchester United in a tricky knockout phase, before then recovering well from a shaky start in the final to beat Inter 3-2.

The former Porto boss has also taken charge of a positive – if stylistically unspectacular – start to the 2020-21 campaign, with Sevilla sixth on 30 points after 16 matches.

However, they have at least two games in hand on all but one of the five teams ahead of them, and beat fifth-placed Real Sociedad 3-2 on Saturday.

After Saturday’s victory, Lopetegui has a 58.2 per cent win rate in LaLiga with Sevilla, the best record of any coach (with more than four games in charge) in the club’s history.

Lopetegui also guided Sevilla through their Champions League group, with Borussia Dortmund awaiting in next month’s last-16 clash.

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