Pellegrini determined to lead Betis back to Europe

By Sports Desk July 13, 2020

Manuel Pellegrini hopes to get Real Betis back to challenging for European qualification when he takes over next season. 

Betis last week announced Pellegrini's appointment as head coach on a three-year deal, though sporting director Alexis Trujillo will remain in charge for the rest of the campaign. 

Trujillo was appointed on an interim basis after the Andalusian club dispensed with Rubi three games after LaLiga resumed following its suspension amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

Betis are 13th in LaLiga but Pellegrini, who took Villarreal to the Champions League semi-finals in 2006 and then Malaga to the last eight of the same competition in 2013, hopes to get them challenging near the top again. 

The club reached the round of 32 in the Europa League last season, their first appearance in the competition since going out on penalties to local rivals Sevilla in 2014, and participated in the Champions League for the first and only time in 2005-06. 

"Although the results have not been adequate, there has been institutional progress which must go hand in hand with the results on the field," Pellegrini said when presented to the media on Monday. 

"We will contribute with our experience to get the best out of the team, to have committed players. 

"It is everyone's job, we are on the same boat and the objectives are more feasible to achieve this way, with a winning mentality, because this is a team that should be fighting for European places." 

He added: "I had other offers, but I preferred Betis because I believe in the club's project. They want to make Betis grow and they have done so, although perhaps not with the results on the pitch due to different circumstances." 

Betis handed club legend Joaquin a one-year contract extension in December, meaning he has a deal at the Estadio Benito Villamarin until just before his 40th birthday.

Pellegrini is looking forward to reuniting with the winger, who he coached at Malaga, and a number of other players.

"Joaquin's career speaks for itself. At 38 or 39 years old, he is capable of making a difference, scoring eight goals this season," said Pellegrini.

"I'm very happy to coach him again, we had a great season together at Malaga. He brings experience, personality, joy and he will be important for the dressing room.

"I have no doubt that he can still bring many things to Betis.

"I am happy to be with him again, as with Juanmi, who I had at Malaga, and [Sergio] Canales who I was with at Real Madrid, and Javi Garcia at Manchester City."

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    A double winner with Juve in 1994-95 and a member of the team that won the Champions League a season later, Sousa has the advantage of a prior connection with the club but should be considered an outside shot. He has enjoyed a nomadic coaching career that has included stops at Leicester City, Swansea City, Basel and Fiorentina but has failed to inspire in his current post at Bordeaux, where his win percentage is just 30.2.

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