Julen Lopetegui downplays Sevilla’s shock La Liga lead

Julen Lopetegui played down the significance of Sevilla taking top spot in La Liga following Sunday’s 1-0 victory over Deportivo Alaves.

Lopetegui, who took charge of Sevilla in the summer, has gotten off to a resounding start in Andalusia. He’s, so far, won three and drawn one of his first four games to take the club to the top of La Liga.

It marks a big turnaround in fortunes for Lopetegui after that disastrous spell with Real Madrid last year, which only lasted 120 days.

And Sevilla made sure to deliver a performance that their new coach can be proud of after dominating large parts of the game. They started things off in a fast pace to take the game to Alaves.

Lucas Ocampos and Jesus Navas were particularly dangerous down the flanks to help the visitors take control. And, after over half an hour of owning Alaves, Joan Jordan finally scored to hand Sevilla a deserved lead.

The midfielder’s goal proved to be enough in the end for Lopetegui’s men to take home all three points, and grab a first win at Alaves in 18 years.

“We played a good game and a very good first half against a difficult opponent who makes things very challenging,” said Loptegui in his post-match conference.

“The team did very well with the aspects we had worked on.

“In the second half, it was tougher. They played more direct and perhaps we needed to interpret the situation and not back down. It was a deserved and fair victory.”

Although the former Spain boss isn’t reading too much into Sevilla’s shock La Liga lead.

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Lopetegui added: “Being top does not tell me anything because there’s such a long way to go.

“The only thing it tells me is that the team is doing well, that we are getting stronger as a team and now we are heading into Europe.”

Meanwhile, Javier Hernandez made his debut for Sevilla in a 20-minute cameo following his €7.75m transfer from West Ham.

“The moment in which he entered the game, he had to take advantage of the spaces,” Lopetegui said on Chicharito.

“It wasn’t difficult, he tried and he has to continue doing what the team is asking for.”

Sevilla will now travel to Azerbaijan for their Europa League opener on Thursday against Qarabag FK in Group A.

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