Lopetegui was the first choice of Monchi

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Newly installed Sevilla head coach Julen Lopetegui was the first choice of sporting director Monchi, according to club chairman Jose Castro, who described the former Real Madrid boss as “the best coach for the Sevilla project”.

Lopetegui’s arrival at Estadio Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan marked his return to football for the first time since his ill-fated spell as head coach of Real Madrid, where he was dismissed after just 10 La Liga matches with Los Blancos ninth in the table.

Monchi, who helped Sevilla win 11 trophies including back-to-back Europa League titles during a hugely successful first spell as sporting director, returned to the club in March after spending two years at Roma.

Castro revealed that Lopetegui was the man Monchi wanted in charge of Sevilla as the club aims to improve on finishing sixth in La Liga in 2018-19.

Castro told a news conference: “We’ve brought in the best sporting director, which is Monchi, and he says the best coach for the Sevilla project is Lopetegui.

“He is the best coach for me as well.”

 

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Lopetegui said his time away from the game had given him the opportunity to recharge as he pledged to work closely with Monchi to revive the club’s Champions League aspirations.

He picked out midfielders Ever Banega and Pablo Sarabia as key members of the current squad, while acknowledging that the strength of Sevilla’s academy is a key asset.

“I know what coming to Sevilla means,” said Lopetegui. “As an opponent I’ve been on the receiving end.

“Now we need to work alongside Monchi, who is number one in his job. We’re going to have a fantastic squad I’m sure.

“The Sevilla academy has always had answers. It has always contributed important and solid players consistently. We’ll be very alert to it, like we should be. If someone comes in it will be because they’re going to make us better, that is certain.”

He added: “Sarabia and Banega are two excellent parts of the squad Monchi is trying to build.”

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