Richard Martin details what UEFA Europa League holders Sevilla can expect from former Chile coach Jorge Sampaoli, who has succeeded Unai Emery on a two-year contract.
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New Sevilla boss Jorge Sampaoli has taken a path less trodden for a Liga coach and is set for his first foray into European football after building his managerial CV in Peru, Ecuador and Chile.
The Argentinian's hopes of a playing career were destroyed by a double-leg fracture as a 19-year-old. He responded by dedicating his time to coaching amateur sides, gaining local fame after being photographed shouting instructions at his players from a tree having been refused entry to a game.
After continuing his technical education with jobs in Peru, Chile and Ecuador, he earned an international reputation for his work with Universidad de Chile, winning back-to-back league titles and the Copa Sudamericana as well as reaching the semi-finals of the Copa Libertadores, all while playing eye-catching, attacking football.
Come 2012 he was an obvious candidate for the vacant Chile post and he quickly imposed his identity on the national team. His charges outclassed holders Spain in the 2014 FIFA World Cup group stage, eventually losing on penalties to Brazil in the round of 16. Redemption came with a shoot-out triumph over his native Argentina in the Copa América final a year later in Santiago – Chile's first silverware.
Now he has the daunting task of following Unai Emery and his three successive UEFA Europa League victories with Sevilla. So what can the Spanish club expect from him? UEFA.com investigates.
Sampaoli grew up in Sante Fe province, around 50km from Marcelo Bielsa, and is a self-confessed disciple of the former Argentina and Chile trainer, whose team talks he listens to while jogging. "He has an attacking outlook I've always identified with, and I share the ideas and philosophy behind that way of playing," he said.
Sampaoli's stance contrasts with that of Emery, who would often adopt a conservative approach, especially away from home. Next season Sevilla will want to dominate proceedings in every game.
Sampaoli has no interest in bossing players about and instead tries to create a congenial atmosphere. The Chile dressing room contained more than its share of egos, yet Sampaoli established close ties with the squad, particularly Arturo Vidal.
"You cannot fight against egos," the 56-year-old once explained. "So if you coach Messi, you have to get Messi to love you, you need to win him over." Sampaoli also warns against complex team talks and has been known to eschew them in favour of showing his players films to relax them before a match.
While his attacking philosophy may be non-negotiable, Sampaoli is willing to employ different means for the same end. He constantly switched formations with Chile – often playing with three in defence to give more freedom to the wing-backs – yet also had a penchant for 4-4-2. He also loves to mix sweeping counterattacks with long periods of possession.
"At first I loved Bielsa, then I took things from [Josep] Guardiola," he said. "I like to mix things up and not be dogmatic. When there are ten religions and you only have one, you are missing out on the other nine."