Seville faces Real Madrid at Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan this afternoon with an opportunity to jump his guest to the top four with a victory.
The Andalusians are one point behind Los Blancos but have a game in hand. Both teams suffered humiliation in the UEFA Champions League during the week – Sevilla suffered a 4-0 home loss from Chelsea while Real Madrid lost 2-0 to Shakhtar Donetsk in Ukraine.
“There’s no need to say that we need a reaction,” Sevilla player Ivan Rakitic told Marca. “We have to forget the Chelsea game and prepare for a good game in the future.
“We have a really positive dynamic in La Liga and we need to continue facing it with great joy and confidence, because we are a team that does many things well.”
Rakitic rejected suggestions that the time is particularly good for facing Real Madrid, given their poor performance. Last season’s champion lost 2-1 to Alaves at home last weekend, and coach Zinedine Zidane’s mission was the subject of much debate in the Spanish capital.
“I think what we should be thinking about is ourselves,” said Rakitic. “We know who Madrid are, how they play and what they are capable of. It is a long season and we all know everyone is having good and bad moments.
“We don’t pay attention to our competitors, we just focus on what belongs to us. To beat Madrid you have to play the full game. We have to go for them.”
Rakitic also spoke about Madrid’s Luka Modric, a player who played alongside him for many years with Croatia and will face on Saturday afternoon. Modric has amazed many with his performance this season despite his advanced years.
“For all of us who know Luka, I don’t think it’s surprising,” said Rakitic. “He is one of the few players who can change an entire team and you can see his importance. He is playing some great matches, although the results did not follow him.”
“The birthdate on his passport does not matter. He is in a beautiful moment but I hope he does not have a good evening against us.”
Rakitic also spoke of his appreciation for his coach, Julen Lopetegui, the man he described as one of the best men he has ever worked with. Lopetegui led Sevilla to fourth place last season in addition to their sixth European League victory.
“[Lopetegui is] “One of the best coaches I have ever worked with,” said Rakitic. “They have an amazing training staff and every detail is put in place. They live for us, sincerely. Every game is prepared with incredible intensity and it imparts these business values to you.”
“I am convinced that this combination is perfect for us, and all I can do is thank him for the confidence he placed in me. I am sure we will have a lot of fun together.”
Featured image provided by FC Barcelona Noticias.