Sevilla shaping up nicely in pre-season under Marcelino

Sevilla continue to impress in pre-season, with a 4-0 win over local side Pilas Atletico the latest positive result, amid some interesting tactical arrangements.

Youngster Luis Alberto, promoted from the youth team, was given a start and placed behind Alvaro Negredo in attack. Meanwhile, centre-back Federico Fazio played the whole 90 minutes in a defensive midfield position.

Most of the team’s attacking moves were through right-winger Jesus Navas, whilst left-sided Piotr Trochowski also impressed in both defensive and attacking aspects of play. Fellow new arrival Emir Spahic also started, alongside Bernardo Espinosa, returning from injury.

Freddie Kanoute missed the game with a hamstring problem whilst fellow attacker Arouna Kone was also still absent. After suffering unexplained spasms and illness in the wake of the club’s friendly with UD Rotena a week ago, the Ivorian has been under-going several medical tests. The 27-year-old was discharged midweek and declared to be ‘in perfect health’ with the episode put down to ‘intense heat-stroke’ but he has still been ordered home for several days’ rest, before he faces assessment from club doctors.

Marcelino Garcia Toral has also been without defender Jorge ‘Coke’ Andujar, midfielder Tiberio Guarente, left-winger Diego Perotti and attacking midfielder Ivan Rakitic, who have all been working separately from the main group in training as they bid to recover to full fitness.

Despite the absences, the team have impressed, with conistent patterns of play emerging, in light of their Coach’s demands. Arriving from Racing Santander this summer, 45-year-old Marcelino has promised a blend of attacking football at Seville, to stem from a fast pace of possession play focused through the wings, and a strong will to win back possession with a high line of pressure.

Training sessions at the club’s Costa Ballena base have seen him continually ask the players to increase their intensity and movement, both with and without the ball, with synchronized patterns of play to close down space for opponents, and this is beginning to transfer on to the pitch.

A trait of Marcelino’s that is also beginning to emerge again – reflected in the recent sale of Diego Capel – is that of fair competition for places. This includes a preference for a smaller squad than most clubs, but with the idea that every player at his disposal can and will get playing time in the campaign. He is even going as far as to include the goalkeepers in this, working both Andres Palop and Javi Varas equally, with the intention that the two share playing time between the League, Europa League and Copa del Rey.

So far, the players are responding to the young Coach and his methods with performances in pre-season yielding not only three wins from three, but flashes of a style of play the Sevillistas fans have always demanded of their team. Sevilla kick off the season with El derbi Sevillano against Real Betis.

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