SEVILLA | SAMPAOLI

Sampaoli hoping for some "Monchi magic" in January transfer window

Sevilla's coach says he has "sent his letter to Father Christmas" and hopes his Director of Sport can make reinforcements to the squad next month.

Sampaoli hoping for some "Monchi magic" in January transfer window
GUILLAUME HORCAJUELO EFE

New additions

Sevilla coach Jorge Sampaoli says he has "sent his letter to Father Christmas" and hopes Director of Sport Monchi can weave his magic and find suitable reinforcements for the squad when the January transfer window opens next month.

Final league game of 2016: The plan is to end the year well, and to try to pick up the points we need to continue close to the top teams; but knowing Málaga, they are going to give us a lot of problems tomorrow.

Injury problems: Nico Pareja has recovered; we'll wait until the last moment to see how Escudero is but it's looking very unlikely that he'll make it for the game. We'll try to bring in someone who is at 100 per cent to cover for him.

Both full-backs: The plan is to field players with other characteristics while we are without Mariano and Escudero - the two players who open up rival defences. We'll be changing players and that means we'll change the way we play too.

Round of 16 draw

Leicester: Any team we could have been drawn against in the Champions League would have been difficult. We've been drawn against the defending Premier League champions; they have pace up front - strikers who are quick to pounce on any errors... I think it's going to be a very attractive tie, we are really looking forward to it, and our rivals will be very difficult to play against.

Winter reinforcements

Letter to Santa: We are always talking with Monchi to see if there is any possibility of improving the squad. We are on it; and we are counting on his ability to surprise us which I'm sure he will. I don't think there will be a lot of movement because the team is more or less complete and  because the winter transfer market is always difficult. A lot of players have already played [in this year's] Champions League, it's going to be difficult for them to leave their clubs... We are very happy with the squad and whoever comes in will give us that little extra bit of quality. A trusted goal scorer is priceless - and even more so, when clubs won't allow their players to leave. Monchi will need to put his Santa Claus outfit on and do his magic

Overview of the season so far: When we started the campaign, we could not have imagined we would occupy the place we are in now. It's going to be difficult to maintain the team's competitive level so that we can remain in third position - where Atlético usually are - time will tell whether we can or not. I've been pleasantly surprised. We won't last very long there if we drop the level of our game.

Technology ruins the game

Video assistant technology: All of these technologies are converting football into something different - a new sport. We'll have to change the name if that is the case. Every new rule will be more to do with the technology rather than the game. I am not in agreement with that because personally, I like football.

Special award for Messi

Ballon d'Or: Cristiano deserves any award he is given but I think that they should make a ballon d'Or just for Messi and another for the rest.