Julen Lopetegui: “It’s going to be tougher than starting a normal season”

· by WFS2017

LaLiga is resuming this week, three months after being suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The match chosen for this longly awaited restart will be the Seville Derby between Sevilla FC and Real Betis, one of the hottest games on the calendar of Spain’s top tier.

Sevilla, currently in third position,  is aiming to secure its place to take part in next season’s UEFA Champions League, while Betis, in 12th position, is looking to climb up the ladder and make a final charge for a Europa League spot.

A few weeks after the State of Emergency was declared in Spain and LaLiga suspended, WFS talked with Sevilla manager Julen Lopetegui about the challenges of this unprecedented situation. He anticipated that the restart would be very tough for all players from a physical perspective whenever the competition was resumed.

“It’s going to be an even bigger challenge than when a normal season starts after the summer break,” – Julen Lopetegui

“It’s going to be an even bigger challenge than when a normal season starts after the summer break, because players are probably going to come back in a worst shape from a physical perspective and then there’s the mental aspect as well. It’s definitely going to be a huge challenge for all teams”, said the former Real Madrid and Spain coach.

Although Lopetegui was in permanent contact with his players during the lockdown through videocalls, not being able to carry out team sessions and interact face to face was the biggest challenge he had to overcome during the confinement.

Lopetegui. went back to training with his players a month ago to prepare not only the 11 remaining league games but also the Europa League, in which Sevilla will be facing AS Roma for a space in the quarter finals.