Vincenzo Montella says Sevilla bowed out of the Champions League with their heads held high, but warned they must now refocus their energies on a flagging LaLiga campaign.
A goalless draw at Bayern Munich on Wednesday consigned Sevilla to a 2-1 aggregate defeat to the Bundesliga champions despite Pablo Sarabia missing a presentable chance and Joaquin Correa – who was dismissed for a poor stoppage-time lunge on Javi Martinez – hitting the crossbar.
It brought an end to a European campaign that saw Sevilla knock out Manchester United in the last 16, though Montella’s men are out of contention for a top-four finish in LaLiga.
Yet despite sitting in seventh place in the table, Montella – whose side are in the final of the Copa del Rey where Barcelona await – has challenged his players to finish with a flourish having seen them win just once in seven competitive outings.
“We played a good match. We had balance, clear opportunities to score, as seen with Sarabia and Correa, and I am proud of the team because it wasn’t easy competing against a rival that is always competing to win the Champions League,” Montella said.
“We have gone out with pride and we have to cherish that. Now we need to remember all that we have done on the pitch so that we can move forward in the matches that remain.
“We need confidence, encouragement and strength because we need to regain ground in La Liga. We have to treat everything equally.
“We tried right up until the final whistle and the exhaustion was apparent. With a goal we would have got back some of that energy we lacked and that’s what we looked to do, but we have to be proud of ourselves and how we have left the competition.
“The fans have been amazing, we have never stopped feeling their love and support, they have believed in us right up until the end; it is incredible.”