Sevilla are a Europa League force to be reckoned with

Wolves beware! From ‘Peter Pan’ Jesus Navas and Real Madrid outcast Sergio Reguilon at the back to talisman Lucas Ocampos on the wing, Sevilla are a Europa League force to be reckoned with

  • Wolves take on Sevilla in the quarter-finals of the Europa League on Tuesday
  • Spanish side have won the trophy every time they’ve reached the last-eight
  • They finished fourth in LaLiga, qualifying for next season’s Champions League
  • Manager Julen Lopetegui almost became Wolves manager four years ago
  • Their team is packed with quality players in all departments with plenty of threat 

Every time Sevilla reach a Europa League quarter-final they go on to lift the trophy. 

That’s some record for the five-time winners. As well as knockout pedigree they have impressed in LaLiga this season too winning the best of the rest tournament behind Madrid, Barca and Atletico. 

Managed by a man who almost coached Wolves in 2016, Sevilla are not to be underestimated. Sportsmail looks at them man for man.

Sergio Reguilon celebrates scoring in Sevilla’s 2-0 win over Roma in the Europa League last-16

Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo will have to find a way of beating a team with an outstanding record in this competition in order to reach the semi-finals

Keeper

Bono (Yassine Bounou) stepped in for the last four games of the season when number one Tomas Vaclik picked up an injury. 

Vaclik is fit but Lopetegui, a former goalkeeper himself, has stuck with big Bono who is on loan from Girona.

Right Back

Sevilla’s Peter Pan, Jesus Navas, will be 35 in November. Is he slowing up? No, he was near ever-present this season and would have been most people’s pick as LaLiga’s best right back both before and after lockdown.

Jesus Navas shows no sign of slowing down at the age of 35, as Roma’s Edin Dzeko found out

Left Back

Sergio Reguilon did well enough at Real Madrid last season to become their first choice left back but when Zidane doesn’t like you there is nothing you can do. 

Real Madrid bought Ferland Mendy and 23-year-old Reguilon was loaned out to Sevilla. He’s been very good. He likes to make his attacking runs inside as opposed to on the overlap and has scored in both of his last two games. 

Now looked after by Jorge Mendes, Sevilla will do well to keep him this summer when his loan ends. There is Premier League interest too.

Reguilon wasn’t wanted by Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid but has flourished at Sevilla

Centre backs

It’s no exaggeration to say that, along with Ramos and Varane, Diego Carlos and Jules Kounde have been the best central defensive partnership in LaLiga this season. 

Monchi signed Diego Carlos from Nantes for €15million (£13.5m) and Kounde from Bordeaux for €25m (£22.5m). The Brazilian is a stopper of barn-door dimensions but has mobility to go with his bulk. 

And at 21 Kounde looks to have everything, including some attacking flair. His value has doubled, Diego Carlos’ may have tripled. How does Monchi do it?

Jules Kounde (left) has enjoyed a fine season since arriving from Bordeaux last summer

Former Manchester City midfielder Fernando puts in a tackle during the match against Roma

Holding midfielder

Fernando was another Sevilla transfer market masterstroke. The former City player does a job in front of the back two allowing the other two midfielders to play.

Those other two midfielders…

Ever Banega is off to Saudi Arabia side Al-Shabab once the marathon season is over. He seems determined to go out in style. 

He was brilliant against Roma and gives Sevilla a range of passing they just don’t have when he’s not there. Joan Jordan completes the midfield three. 

Signed from Eibar last summer he’s been good enough to get people talking about his credentials for the Spain team.

Ever Banega was one of Sevilla’s outstanding performers against Roma as he prepares to exit

Centre forward

This is an either/or. Youssef En-Nesyri played and scored against Roma having been second choice for most of the post-lockdown season. 

Luuk de Jong has been first choice despite only scoring 6 goals in 24 starts in LaLiga. The Moroccan international offers pace to run in behind teams and has a good goal record. 

De Jong, briefly at Newcastle, will hold the ball up, play with his back to goal and cause problems for Wolves in the air.

Luuk de Jong receives instructions from coach Lopetegui during the win over Roma

Right wing

This could be another either/or. Suso who arrived on loan from Milan in January is expected to start despite former Barcelona forward Munir El Haddadi playing very well during the run-in.

Left wing

We’ve maybe left the best until last. Lucas Ocampos is the star of this team. 

A goalscoring winger signed from Marseille last summer he has top-scored for the team in LaLiga with 14 goals and he tends to generate enough energy to power a small town. 

He even took the gloves and went in goal the day Vaclik got injured and made a save from the last corner of the match that made sure Sevilla won the game. 

Whatever passes as Roy of the Rovers or Hot-shot Hamish down in southern Spain: he’s that.

Lucas Ocampos is the star of the Sevilla team and the player Wolves really have to watch

The coach

Julen Lopetegui is a Jorge Mendes client and was close to being manoeuvred into the Wolves job back in 2016 but something came up that stopped him taking it. 

What was that something? The Spain job no less. And he did well in getting Spain to Russia 2018 only for the small matter of accepting the Real Madrid job on the eve of the tournament ruining everything and leading to him being sacked against the players’ wishes. 

Madrid welcomed him with open arms, then fired him before the end of October but he has more than rebuilt his reputation at Sevilla. 

He’s intense on the touchline, usually brave with his changes and he has produced a side that nicely mix an ability on the ball with the capacity to play without it, defend well, and then hurt teams on the break.

Lopetegui speaks ahead of Tuesday night’s meeting with Wolves as Sevilla aim to win the Europa League once again




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