ARIAS: “I WANT CONTINUITY”

Read via Sevilla Fútbol Club’s English-language website

Óscar Arias was unveiled as Sevilla’s new sporting director in a press conference at the Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán on Tuesday.

Arias, 51, is promoted to the role having served as Monchi’s assistant after the former goalkeeper left the club last month.

Speaking to the assembled media in Nervión, Arias said that he is looking forward to maintaining the good work that the club has undertaken in recent years.

“I’m taking on this responsibility with a lot of enthusiasm,” he said. “I’m taking over a group that has been in place for several years under Monchi’s leadership and I want to continue that path that has been marked out in the last few years which have reaped great success for Sevilla.

“Everyone is aware that there’s a structure that works here at the club, it’s a really important asset and my intention is to provide continuity for the team in place here. We won’t see anything strange or different.”

With the size of the task he faces in replacing Monchi, Arias was asked if anything about the role scares him.

“No, why would it scare me,” he replied. “It’s an honour to have the opportunity to continue with the work that’s been done here, which is surely the best in the world in this profession.

“I think I’ve inherited a work structure created by Monchi which works, undertaken by very capable people. I don’t feel responsible for replacing Monchi, but rather for being Sevilla’s sporting director.

“We have been in regular contact throughout, he always confided in me to be a figure head in his team. What have I learned? We could talk about that for a couple of hours. To be able to work with someone as skilled as Monchi is a great honour, it’s meant a lot to me and it’s been a great education for me and the rest of the team.

“We hope to provide continuity, stay on the same track, and to keep things working in the same way because we know that it’s going well.”

With speculation surrounding manager Jorge Sampaoli’s future at the club, Arias affirmed that the club are focussing on the remaining five games this season in their hunt for third place in LaLiga.

“Regarding the manager, I think the president was clear on the situation the other day,” he said. “The club has its thoughts set on the final few games of the season, we’ve got a lot to play for and I can assure you that the manager is totally focused on and committed to what is happening at the club.

“The manager is fully involved in what we are doing at the club at this stage. We’ve got to focus on the games that we have left. Sampaoli is the Sevilla manager, with a contract in effect and I don’t think that talking about other things would be appropriate.”

Should the manager leave the club at the end of the season, Arias believes that the necessary structure is in place to deal with a change.

“Sevilla have demonstrated on more than enough occasions the ability to react to change,” he explained. “The backroom teams know how to react and assemble a competitive squad. Situations will be dealt with as and when they occur, but at this moment in time Sampaoli has a contract with us.”

“We’re in April, we have time on our hands, and we have time to work on the situations that we are managing. The backroom structure at the club is in continuous development, it keeps functioning with absolute normality but right now isn’t the time to put more pieces in the puzzle.

Jesús Navas has been linked with a return to the club when his contract with Manchester City expires in the summer, and Arias was asked if the winger is in his thoughts for this summer’s recruitment.

“[He is] a top level player who would more than an interesting option for us, as a former player and being from Seville, he’s an elite player but we’ll see what happens,” he said.

On whether there would be additions to his backroom staff, Arias explained: “My team consists of a structure that the club has already brought together, that was here before I arrived myself and will still be here by the time that I leave, it’s a tightly knit group. We’ve formed a team with a lot of confidence.

“We might need someone to come in and bring something more, this is something that we’re considering and as and when that time comes you will see who that person is.”

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