Sevilla great Freddy Kanute believes his former team’s chances of winning the Europa League could redeem their “very bad” start to the season.
Kanute remains Sevilla’s highest-scoring non-Spanish player in history, scoring 136 goals in 290 appearances, winning two UEFA Cups, a UEFA Super Cup and two Copa del Rey trophies during his time there.
The former striker has watched his old club struggle this season, sacking coaches Julen Lopetegui, now at Wolves, in October and Jorge Sampaoli in March.
Sevilla have finally settled under José Luis Mendilibar as La Liga reach the semi-finals of the Europa League where they will take on Juventus this month in a two-legged tie.
Mendilibar’s side are also 11th in Spain’s top flight, and Kanute is relieved to see Sevilla’s improved form, which beat Manchester United in the Europa League quarter-finals last month.
Kanouté, speaking to Stats Perform at the LaLiga x Bloomsbury Football League event, said: “There are no other words, very bad at the beginning, they struggled a lot, a couple of manager changes, which always throws the team off track.
“Over the past few weeks they have improved, won some important games and at least are no longer in the relegation battle.
“I think they’re finishing the season well and that also reflects what they’re doing in the Europa League, so hopefully they’ll have a great end to the season.”
Stefan Mbia in the 94th minute!
#OTD in 2014, @Seville has reached #UEL final thanks to some late drama against Valencia pic.twitter.com/WQ3gqvKM12
— UEFA Europa League (@EuropaLeague) May 1, 2023
Kanute played in the Premier League for West Ham and then Tottenham Hotspur before his 2005 move to Ramon Sánchez Pizjuan’s Sevilla.
The former Malian international has scored 43 goals in 144 Premier League appearances, but Kanoute believes there is little difference between Europe’s top two divisions at the moment.
“My track record is that I’ve scored more goals in La Liga, it’s not necessarily harder in the Premier League,” he added. “I think it depends on your style. It depends on what kind of football you play.
“It depends on your understanding of the game, but I would say that the differences between styles are getting smaller and smaller because football is so global now and even here in the Premier League you are so heavily influenced by foreign coaches.
“Personally, I would say that I liked football the most in La Liga, because there I could win silver, but other than that, it depends on each person.”