The Sevilla coach Manolo Jimenez reflected on the fickle nature of football after watching his side miss a great chance to put more pressure on top two Real Madrid and Barcelona as they were held at home by bottom club Malaga. Sevilla could have moved level with Real Madrid with a victory and one point clear of second-placed Barca before last night's El Clasico between the top two at the Camp Nou.
However, they were forced to settle for a 2-2 draw, much to Jimenez's frustration as fourth-placed Valencia were also held to a home 1-1 draw by sixth-placed Real Mallorca earlier in the evening. "We lost a tremendous opportunity to close the gap to Barcelona and Madrid and distance ourselves from two of the teams chasing us, but football is so unpredictable," said Jimenez. It could have been even worse for Sevilla as they trailed 2-0 at the break before a second-half brace from Luis Fabiano - who also struck a post with a header in the first half - saw them get back on level terms.
Jimenez could not fault his side's commitment, saying: "A team who create 10 chances are not lacking spark or anything. We need to congratulate Malaga because, from one opportunity, they have scored two goals. "We created a lot of opportunities, what we didn't have was the efficiency or clinical approach to make the most of them. Sevilla were far superior to Malaga, we found ourselves 2-0 against the run of play, but the team did everything they had to do."
Meanwhile, the Villarreal coach Ernesto Valverde has told his side not to dwell on their defeat against Sporting Gijon and instead to focus their intention on Wednesday's crucial Europa League clash with Levski Sofia. Villarreal went into the match against Sporting looking to record their sixth win in eight competitive outings, but they left El Molinon empty-handed after slumping to a 1-0 defeat.
But Valverde wants his players to forget the loss and turn their attention to their encounter with Levski. Villarreal are second in Group G on six points, level with third-placed Lazio, with the top two reaching the knockout stages. Both teams are six points adrift of leaders Salzburg. Levski are bottom of the table having lost all four of their matches. Valverde said after the Sporting match: "We're hurt, but we need to forget it because we have a very important game against Levski and we need to go into in the best possible fashion."
* With agencies