It’s going to be a challenge for Sevilla when they face West Ham United in the second leg of their Europa League round-of-16 tie, according to coach Julen Lopetegui.
David Moyes and the rest of his team may look back on Saturday’s 1-0 loss to Athletic Bilbao at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan as a squandered chance.
In the end, this was a Sevilla team that was missing the likes of Erik Lamela, Gonzalo Montiel, and Diego Carlos. While warming up, Ivan Rakitic was substituted.
Manchester United’s Anthony Martial, who had six goals in six games versus the Hammers, was only fit enough to sit on the bench.
At this point in the game, Munir El Haddadi had already squandered two good chances. Despite this, it was a classic case of the third time lucky when he swung the ball into the corner midway through the second half.
“We are going to suffer (in the second leg),” says the former Spain and Real Madrid boss, who turned down Tottenham Hotspur last year.
“We were at the halfway point and the most difficult thing remains for us. (West Ham) are the best strategic team in England.”
Lopetegui was at pains to point out that, just a few days ago, West Ham threatened to end Liverpool’s year-long unbeaten run at Anfield. A run that would come to an end just three days later when Inter Milan came to town.
“They gave Liverpool a shake,” Lopetegui adds. “The most important thing is attitude and the character that the players had (in the first-leg win). This result leaves both swords raised.”