Sevilla Need To Be Patient With Julen Lopetegui5 min read
Though there were strong rumours earlier in the last campaign that Julen Lopetegui would be taking over at Premier League club, Wolverhampton Wanderers, the deal never materialised.
With Joaquin Caparros steering the ship at Sevilla after they’d sacked Pablo Machin, the Andalusians were always going to be on the lookout for a new coach in the close season, and they swooped almost as soon as the campaign ended.
Sporting director, Monchi, has worked wonders at the club and has built up trust with his board and credit with the supporters.
His hire of Lopetegui will be seen as progressive, but a note of caution should be sounded amongst the triumphalism.
Taking over from Vicente Del Bosque in the Spain hot-seat was never going to be an easy task, but Lopetegui took to it like a duck to water. Frankly, he was an excellent choice for La Roja.
His work with the youth sides meant that the senior team had some sort of continuity, and his record for Spain’s U19, U20, U21 and senior sides speaks for itself.
He was in charge for 52 games and lost just one.
But delve a little deeper and we see that he’s been a very poor coach at club level.
His first coaching job at a club came with Madrid minnows, Rayo Vallecano. He was sacked after just 11 games, seven of which he lost.
At Porto, he did win 53 of his 77 games which on paper looks impressive, however, he failed to win any silverware during his tenure (2014-2016).
The way he was announced as the new Real Madrid coach couldn’t have been handled any worse, and maybe that was a sign of things to come; he won just 6 of his 14 games and ended with a paltry +1 goal difference.
Lopetegui remains a big name but he will be expected to deliver fairly immediately, given that Sevilla hire and fire with incredible regularity.
Since March 2000, when Juan Carlos Alvarez took over, only Unai Emery between January 2013 and July 2016 has been given anything like an extended reign as coach of the Andalusians.
For some perspective, Lopetegui is their 16th coach in 19 years, and they’ve had some good men in the role previously – Sampaoli, Berizzo, Marcelino, Juande Ramos et al.
It’ll be interesting to see what players are brought in, and how well Lopetegui starts off in the role.
He has a sixth-place finish to improve upon, but Sevilla really do need to give him time to work and to build his legacy.
From his point of view, if he fails again, it’s unlikely he’ll be given another shot at a top-level job in Spain.
Perhaps working with and developing the youth players is where he truly belongs, and excels, in any event.