The former Spain and Real Madrid boss had been linked with the Old Trafford post earlier this season but is facing increasing pressure after a slump in form at Sevilla
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Sevilla are considering parting ways with boss Julen Lopetegui, who was shortlisted for the Manchester United coaching job, at the end of the current season.
Lopetegui signed a contract extension until summer 2024 earlier this season and has seen tangible success on the pitch. He is highly rated within the game and made the shortlist of four candidates for the United post, which eventually went to Ajax manager Erik ten Hag.
In March, the Spaniard dropped out of the race for the Old Trafford post in what appeared to be a sign of his long-term commitment to Sevilla. However, it is now unclear whether the club will retain the manager’s services after this season after a prolonged slump in form.
In his debut season with the Andalusian club, the former Spain coach lifted the Europa League title and is close to leading his side to the Champions League for a third straight season. However, results and performances in the second half of this season have raised concerns.
At half-time in La Liga, Sevilla were second in standings and within reach of La Liga leaders Real Madrid. There was a real belief the club could only win their second league title and their first since 1946 after Porto’s Jesus ‘Tecatito’ Corona and Manchester United striker Anthony Martial were loaned out in January.
However, Sevilla have won just four of their 16 La Liga games since January – after falling from a title challenge to a place in the top four, they only need a point from their last two games to qualify for Champions League qualification to qualify. They were also eliminated from the Europa League round of 16 by West Ham.
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The string of recent results and the nature of the performances have caused a lot of dissatisfaction among Sevilla’s fanbase, who believe the side are falling short of expectations. Despite having the best defensive record in La Liga, they have only scored 51 goals in 36 league games – the lowest among La Liga top 5 and 22 goals less than Real Madrid.
Recent bland home games against relegation-threatened duo Cadiz and Mallorca have put the pressure on Lopetegui and Sevilla fans have vented their frustration. The club is now reviewing its position.
The Sevilla board are understood to be split over the future of the former Real Madrid boss. Some believe he remains a top coach and is capable of halting this slump in form that will still guarantee Champions League football. The fact that he still has two years left on his deal would also make any layoff an expensive one.
However, it is accepted that recent results and performances have been well below average and there is no lack of disappointment that such a financially secure side appear to be stagnating. There is also a feeling that the player squad is no longer responding positively to Lopetegui’s instructions and many individuals would welcome a move.
Sevilla finish their season with a trip to Atletico Madrid followed by a home game against Athletic Bilbao. The board is then expected to make a decision on Lopetegui’s future.
River Plate manager Marcelo Gallardo is one person who would be on Sevilla’s shortlist as the Argentine wants to move to Europe after eight years with the Buenos Aires club. Former Sevilla B team coach Diego Martinez would also be on the club’s radar. Martinez has left football since leaving the club’s Andalusian neighbors Granada last summer, whom he guided to a Europa League quarter-finals berth.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/julen-lopetegui-sevilla-man-united-26942751 Julen Lopetegui risks losing Seville job after making Man Utd shortlist