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Real Madrid
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Lopez: Let's banish Sevilla blues

The new Sevilla goalkeeper Diego Lopez has said the players need to lift spirits at the club following the disappointments of last season.

Sevilla finished in an underwhelming ninth place in La Liga after coach Marcelino was sacked in February and results remained inconsistent under his replacement, Michel.

Lopez, 30, who left Villarreal for Sevilla in a reported £3 million deal earlier this summer, said he and his new team-mates were focused on putting the negativity behind them.

"People are still very aware of last year, and I believe that we need to put it out of our minds," he told reporters in Seville. "We need to improve the thinking and the atmosphere. I believe this team is ready to fight for important titles."

Lopez's fellow arrivals this summer include Brazilian right-back Cicinho, from Palmeiras, French under-19 midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia, from Lens and Dutch midfielder Hedwiges Maduro, from Valencia. Departures have included striker Freddie Kanoute to Beijing Guoan and defender Julien Escude to Besiktas.

Pre-season friendly results, including Wednesday's 1-0 defeat to lower division neighbours Cordoba, have not been promising, and 30-year-old Lopez admitted the new team was taking time to gel.

"Obviously we did not play well, and we lost to a second division side," he said. "We need to keep improving, keep working hard, and realise that the season is almost starting."

But he stressed that Sevilla will be ready for their La Liga opener at home to Getafe on August 18, adding: "You will not see the real level of the team in friendlies. In La Liga, when we are playing against the best sides, we will be better. The team, bit by bit, will improve and perform at a higher level."

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