Speaking at a press conference after defeat at the hands of Atlético Madrid at the Vicente Calderón, Sevilla boss Jorge Sampaoli analysed his side’s current fortunes.
He said: “In the last eight games we had won five and drawn three, this is the first defeat in nine, but it is certain that it has knocked us off course in our bid to challenge at the top.
“We have to keep going to secure qualification to the Champions League, which all signs indicated as being a probability, mathematically.”
The Sevilla manager explained: “We’ve had a tough few days and we have to rediscover the identity that brought us here and I think that this international break will help us to rediscover ourselves.”
Sampaoli rued the visit to the Calderón days after elimination from the Champions League at the hands of Leicester City.
He said: “Today we played against a very tough side who were very strong, just after being knocked out of the Champions League and unfortunately that affected us today.
“Their first two goals were from set pieces. The team looked for a goal and despite the scoreline and not being at our best, the team gave everything until the end; it doesn’t aleviate the pain of the defeat but it gives us hope for what is to come.”
The Argentine was optimistic about the future despite the poor run of form his side has suffered in recent weeks.
“We have to prepare oursevles for what is to come,” he said. “The most important thing is the diagnosis and we have to try and find the solution for rediscovering what we were to give people hope again.”