Sevilla boss Julen Lopetegui has praised Antonio Conte and his ability to implement his style seamlessly in teams, following his side’s 1-1 draw with Tottenham on Saturday.
Lopetegui won the only competitive game between the two managers – Sevilla’s 3-2 triumph over Inter in the 2020 Europa League final – but they had to split the result this time, with Ivan Rakitic equalizing after the first Harry Kane game in Suwon.
Sevilla had the majority of possession in the opening 45 minutes but their best chance came in transition, with Rafa Mir missing a one-on-one opportunity with Hugo Lloris.
To reinforce their lack of penetration with the ball, Kane scored after Rodrigo Bentancur won the ball high up the pitch in the 50th minute, before substitute Rakitic headed home from the top of the penalty area 14 minutes later. late.
For his team’s first pre-season game, Lopetegui was finally satisfied that his side could restrain Spurs while revealing his admiration for Conte, believing he could pass on his identity to every team he coaches.
“They tend to take the initiative and right now we’ve underplayed a great team,” he said after the game. “They had their moments, but we had a good first game. I’m a big fan of Conte, he has his own stamp that he passes on to all his teams and he has all my admiration and respect.
“They are one of the best teams in England and in the world and we have overtaken them at times. We finished with six footballers off the bench and played a good game.
“I don’t appreciate the result but we tried to practice what we train on the pitch and the boys did a good job. We had a good week of work optimizing the defensive and attacking aspects.”
After reaching their La Liga points record in 2020-21, Sevilla plateaued last season, finishing 16 points behind eventual title winners Real Madrid, as well as the last 16 Copa del Rey and League outings. Europe.
Lopetegui’s side secured Champions League football for the second consecutive year, finishing fourth in La Liga ahead of rivals Real Betis.
Coming off the bench, Rakitic echoed his manager’s sentiments but added that his goal will allow him to approach training with less pressure.
“There was a desire to compete, to play, also against a spectacular team. I think we did a great job. To start with, the truth is that we are very happy,” he said after the match. from Sevilla FC TV.
“The truth is very happy, I think it’s important for us to start adding good minutes. It was an intense game, with a lot of rhythm. For the days to come, with a goal like this, you work even more comfortably.”