SPANISH PRIMERA DIVISIÓN

Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, Spain

Attendance: 32000

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Sevilla FC

  • Manucho 50' OG

1 - 2

FT

Real Valladolid

  • Patrick Ebert 2'
  • Óscar González 12'

Sevilla and Valladolid square up

Sevilla and Valladolid may have started the Primera Division season with wildly differing expectations, but it is Monday's hosts and not the visitors who are on the backfoot with nearly half the campaign gone.

The Rojiblancos have flattered to deceive over recent weeks, a 5-1 derby victory over Real Betis and a 6-1 aggregate win over Espanyol in the Copa del Rey arriving during a woeful run of results that has left Michel's men struggling in 11th place.

Promoted Valladolid are one place better off and in the top half, with only a poor away record denying the Pucela a loftier position in the standings.

But Sevilla boss Michel now wants his players build on recent positive results in a bid to engineer a swift return to the European places.

He told AS: ``I expect to see more of the Sevilla that these players have shown me recently, a Sevilla side that is starting to enjoy more good games than bad ones.

``The players are high on confidence and they showed as much in the Copa del Rey.

``When the first-team squad is running low on energy we give games to those who want to play. Cala has always responded well and (Alberto) Botia has played in a lot of games.''

Chilean midfielder Bryan Rabello, 18, is another player who has impressed Michel of late, with young striker Alex Rubio also entering Sevilla's short-term plans.

``Rabello has proved to be a quiet and sensible player,'' Michel added. ``He's been playing very well for the youth team recently and it's possible that he will get some game time.

``Alex is not scoring that many goals in the youth team but I hope he will take advantage of an opportunity to join up with the first team.''

Valladolid fell foul of Sevilla's city rivals Betis in the Copa del Rey this week, slumping to a 3-1 aggregate defeat having won the first leg 1-0.

Pucela head coach Miroslav Djukic is wary of suffering a similar capitulation at the hands of Sevilla, telling Marca: ``They will play the same way (as Betis) and we have to be prepared.

``We have to play with personality and play our own game. The players have the chance to prove they have the character to stay above their rivals and this game is as tricky as they come.''

Defender Jesus Rueda is struggling with gastroenteritis while midfielder Lolo nurses a sprained right ankle, but Henrique Sereno has recovered from a torn shoulder muscle.

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