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Leagues: La Liga

Sevilla’s Sampaoli counts on Nasri talent for European run


Seville (Spain) (AFP) – Sevilla coach Jorge Sampaoli believes Manchester City loanee Samir Nasri has the talent to help his side to the latter stages of the Champions League ahead of Tuesday’s clash against Lyon.

The Spanish side have won the Europa League for the past three seasons, but have struggled to establish themselves amongst Europe’s elite in the Champions League.

However, after a promising 0-0 draw away to Italian champions Juventus, Sampaoli is hoping Nasri and the fortress Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan can push Sevilla towards to the last 16 for the first time in six years.

“I am very happy that Samir came here,” Sampaoli said on Tuesday after Nasri netted his first Sevilla goal in Saturday’s 3-1 defeat at Athletic Bilbao.

“I think there are very few players in the world with the ability to play like Samir does.”

Defeat in the Basque country continued Sevilla’s awful run of 22 La Liga games on the road without a win.

However, Sampaoli expects a turnaround for the Group H game back at the Sanchez Pizjuan where they have won 14 of their last 16 European ties and all three La Liga matches so far this season.

“Playing every three days allows you to get over defeat quickly. There is always another game around the corner,” added Sampaoli.

“We need to have more penetration in the final third. We will change the system and some players.”

Indeed, Sampaoli is expected to ring the changes as key players Franco Vazquez, Vitolo, Luciano Vietto and Steven N’Zonzi were all left on the bench at the weekend, while Sergio Rico will return in goal at the expense of Salvatore Sirigu.

However, Sevilla will be without French internationals Benoit Tremoulinas and Adil Rami due to injury.

Lyon have injury problems of their own with star striker Alexandre Lacazette missing out once more due to an ongoing knee injury.

“Alex’s absence is a problem,” admitted Lyon coach Bruno Genesio, who also has an injury doubt over talented youngster Nabil Fekir.

“It is difficult for the team to overcome those absences. It means the whole team has to work to score goals and be as efficient as possible.

“It is obvious we would prefer to have Alex for these matches.”

Lyon also suffered defeat at the weekend, going down 1-0 at Lorient to lose for the third time in seven Ligue 1 games this season.

“Although we lost to Lorient this is a different competition,” added Genesio.

“It is the most prestigious club competition in the world and we have to correct what we did wrong on Saturday to put in a good performance.”

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