Sevilla FC & Quique Sanchez Flores not to extend contract!

Quique Sánchez Flores started the LaLiga pre-match press conference by adressing the announcement that he will leave Sevilla FC once his contract runs out at the end of the season. “Before we begin, I would like to inform you that last night I spoke to the President about my decision to leave the club at the end of the season. This was not an easy decision, but I feel like I have done what I was brought in to do. I will of course continue to work hard during these final few games and it will pain me to leave the club. I’ve had a wonderful time here and Sevilla will always be in my heart. I would like to thank the players for their efforts in changing the dynamic during a difficult period. I would also like to thank the President for the clear and daily communication that we’ve had. Also to the Sporting Director for the opportunity, but most of all, to the fans. They have played such a big role even at a time when it almost felt that all hope was gone. I’ve always been curious to know what makes the stadium and the fans so special here, and I’m glad that I’m leaving having found out and had the opportunity to enjoy it. Thank you to the press as well, you’ve all been very respectful towards me and ultimately constructive criticism helps us be stronger and improve. We have to be responsible for our own actions and accept that critics will always play a part of our profession. Thank you for this journey, my time here has been challenging but very inspiring. There has been a lot of sacrifice and a lot of reward. I feel like I’ve grown as a person at Sevilla.”

With regards to these past months, he assured “they have been very valuable because there was a period full of disappointment and anxiety. I joined with the club in a difficult situation and seemingly unable to recover form. This of course leaves players very short on confidence. It was certainly a big challenge, I had to make sure that the worst wouldn’t happen. I was very aware of the situation and the urgency and now we are satisified with our work, and a little relieved in truth. The end to the season has been very comfortable which seemed impossible a few months ago.”

He then spoke about possible changes at the club: ‘I can’t speak for individuals, nor would I want to, because I have great respect for professionals like Navas. My decision is based around the fact I was brought in to do a particular job… the rescue plan is for a short-term coach and it wears out a lot, it depersonalises players and coaches and probably means that from the outside they have a different vision. The players here are of a high quality and capable of being part of a big team projects, but I already said that our priority was to take things back to basics. I always had in my head that I would have to complete that task whilst acknowledging that I was probably not the person to take on the next project. I see it as responsible and healthy decision, so that the club can also decide the path it wants to take, always leaving the doors open to those who may not agree with my footballing ideals. Right now the players have reached the point of burnout, from which they will first have to recover.”

Quique also made clear the importance of the squad’s leaders: “This club belongs to those who feel very strongly about the badge. The club is in a place where it needs fresh air, but it also needs roots with the younger and older lads. I’m delighted to have left the legacy of Kike Salas, Juanlu, Isaac… I’ll keep an eye on them whenever I can. I will say publicly that Navas and Ramos are the guys who best represent this club and privately I wouldn’t deny it to them.”

Attention will now turn to the final two games: “I said it after the Granada game. We’ve seen in LaLiga over many years that some teams take their foot off the gas with 10 games left of the season. Maybe we’re subconsciously guilty of this, but I hope the fans realise know and understand that I always try to communicate to the players that the fans are the highest hierarchy and I always remind them that we play for them. If we are not capable of doing that in these two games, I am very sorry and I also apologise for the last two games in which we have not competed as much as we should have. As a coach, I always want my teams to finish the season well, but it would be more worrying if they were judged solely on that and not on what they have done over the course of the campaign. As coaching staff, we look at what we and the players have achieved and we see the job as being done.”

He insists the fans deserve as much closure as possible: ‘In the last few games we will tell the players that we are playing for the fans and that we will do the best we can. We will go back to acting as a team in the way that has helped us out of the difficult situation we found ourselves in earlier in the season. I’m afraid that the mindset has slipped and that they become distracted very easily and hopefully the day of the Barcelona match is one to remember fondly and one that in some way celebrates the journey we’ve been on together.”

Although it will be with a different manager, the coach believes that it is important that next season gets underway smoothly: “Pre-season, which is the most important period of the campaign, has to be well planned as it sets a real precedent for what lies ahead. I hope the board make the right decisions and that it’s the season that the fanbase deserves, competing at the top end of the table.”

Quique also mentioned which players will be absent for tomorrow’s game: “Suso won’t make it; it might be difficult for Marcos to be fit. Gudelj has it in his head that he has to play against Barcelona and I’ve urged him to take one day at a time, but he wants to be with the group. We’ll do our best with the players we have at our disposal. We have a group of soldiers who are looking forward to going to battle.”

Finally, he closed with a message of hope: “This is a very big ship. which has a wonderful fan base and a tremendous history. This ship is not sinking. Bad situations fool you into thinking that it is, but when things get tough you ask a lot of questions, and that’s how you find the solutions. And here, Sevilla Fútbol Club will always find right solutions.”

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