Sevilla captain Alvaro Negredo has revealed that there were problems in the club's dressing room last season, but the situation is much better now.
Negredo, 27, explained that current coach Michel had been unhappy with some players' attitudes when he arrived mid-way through last season, and that it had taken until now for the issues to be ironed out.
"It was an undisciplined dressing-room," Negredo told El Correo de Andalucía. "Not undisciplined with bad people, but with little details that meant the team did not do well in the end. The boss (Michel) has talked about it: we did not begin training on time, some people would come in late. He tried to change it and got angry sometimes, but it did not change. I think this year, from the first moment, things have been different, and you will see that soon on the pitch. When you have a group who are all together you see it when they play together."
Sevilla began last season poorly under then coach Marcelino Garcia Toral. Although results improved a little when former Madrid midfielder and Getafe boss Michel took over in February, they eventually finished in a disappointing ninth place.
However, Negredo, who is club captain this season, said the mood around the training ground was much better now.
"You feel well when things are being done properly," he said. "At the end it benefits the group. Nobody has to wait to eat, to have a chat or to begin training. Michel does not have to wait for anyone to arrive to begin training. He says 10am on the pitch and nobody has missed that yet."
Sevilla are unbeaten after three games of the new La Liga season, but face a big test next Saturday as they host title holders Real Madrid, who won 6-2 at the Sanchez Pizjuan last December.
The Spain striker, who spent two seasons at Madrid youth side Castilla earlier in his career, believes his side should not be intimidated by Real's reputation.
"We will go into the game with a positive attitude, knowing it is difficult, respecting our opponent, but without any fear," he said. "I believe we can do damage to Madrid. It will depend on the intensity we bring to the game. We cannot make it easy for the big team, that happens a lot and you get killed. We must concentrate a lot."
Sevilla president Jose Maria del Nido has revealed that he rejected a €20 million offer for Negredo during the summer's transfer window, with Tottenham Hotspur and Malaga among the striker's rumoured suitors. Yet the player himself claimed he knew nothing of any specific offer.
"I was told there were some offers from different clubs but nobody reached the money that was being asked," Negredo said. "I never thought about leaving, I was relaxed all summer. My plan was to continue here, unless the president said something different and everyone would have been happy with a deal. My only thoughts are with Sevilla, which is where I want to be."
Although Negredo featured as Spain won Euro 2012 last July, he was overlooked for Friday's friendly win over Saudi Arabia and Tuesday's World Cup qualifier in Georgia, with Barcelona's fit-again David Villa and Valencia's Roberto Soldado preferred by coach Vicente del Bosque.
And the former Almeria man is well aware that it will require an improvement in his game if he wants to make Del Bosque's next squad.
"I have not spoken with him," Negredo said. "I only know I need to keep working, keep playing well, and keep growing as a player and as a person. That worked in the past, so maybe I am not doing enough at the moment. I must keep improving and maybe change something to convince him."