Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Great Andalusians

It is a pity that most talk about the Europa League final was about, and continues to be, about Liverpool. Because lets face it: number 8 in the Premier League proved to be far below the level of number 7 in La Liga (and this does prevent me from saying that I much prefer to watch the Premier League). Although Liverpool under Jurgen Klopp may have a plan for the future, the final proved that there is still a long way to go, and that much of the material inherited from the hapless Brendan Rogers is not up to the level of Klopp: Moreno, Lovren, Lallana, Firmino, Sturridge (despite his fantastic goal, but it was the only thing he did the entire match); none of this were really up to standard of a European final. And Mignolet is not a class goalkeeper.
I know many Liverpool fans will not like this, but it must be said that if Liverpool is to achieve what Klopp wants, they have to overhaul half the players.

Sevilla has made history: third consecutive Europa League victory, and fifth over the last 11 years. While many (in particular in England) may look down at the Europa League, this is an incredible achievement for a team that has no chance of winning anything in the domestic league, and largely have players that were discarded from other teams, but whose quality cannot be questioned from yesterday's incredible second half performance (although Liverpool were pathetically bad, in my view, it was largely Sevilla who were good): Ever Banega, Coke and Vitolo were all spectacular (all showed a level Liverpool players are far from achieving), and Carrico, Escudero and N'Zonzi all showed high class.
But most credit should go to Sevilla manager Unai Emery. The Spaniard spent four years in Valencia and then a short spell in Spartak Moscow, two clubs that are very hard on managers. In Sevilla since 2013 he has found glory and the respect he deserves. Not only is he an avid tactician (something that has often been overlooked), but he must also have great man management skills as he managed to lift Sevilla to their second half performance in half time, when they were down 0-1.
I have no doubt that Unai Emery is one of the most overseen managers in Europe.

I have never been a big fan of Sevilla, but of course this achievement is worth a big congratulations!

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