It seems like quite a while ago now that Sevilla were in the title race but after three victories in ten matches, priority now is to keep Villarreal at bay and hold onto fourth place.
The expectation was that the Andalusians were always likely to fall away in the closing stages but it hasn’t prevented many from suspecting the drop in form is as a result of the continued speculation surrounding Jorge Sampaoli and the Argentina job.
“Is Argentina an influence [on results]? No, not all,” the Sevilla manager told reporters after Monday’s 4-2 defeat to Malaga.
Midfielder Franco Vázquez will be one hoping that if Sampaoli does indeed take over Argentina, it will kickstart his international career, having this season declared his desire to represent La Albiceleste rather than Italy, who he appeared for in a friendly.
The former Belgrano and Palermo playmaker scored twice on Monday but could not help Sevilla to any points as Malaga ran out 4-2 winners.
With three matches remaining, Sevilla hold a five-point lead over Villarreal and will hope to confirm their place in at least the Champions League qualifying rounds. It seems increasingly likely this will be Sampaoli’s last act as manager before being unveiled as the successor to Edgardo Bauza.