Kjaer surprised by LaLiga-leading Sevilla as Machin's men remain grounded
Sevilla topping LaLiga ahead of Barcelona and Real Madrid has come as a surprise to defender Simon Kjaer, who warned there is a lot more to come from the Spanish leaders this season.
There is a shock pacesetter in LaLiga, where Sevilla are a point clear of defending champions Barca heading into matchday nine following the international break.
After opening the season with a 4-1 rout of Rayo Vallecano, Sevilla went three league games without a win – drawing at home to Villarreal before losing the Seville derby to Real Betis and going down to Getafe.
Sevilla, however, have won four successive LaLiga games since, including a 6-2 demolition of Levante and a 3-0 masterclass against European champions Real Madrid last month to top the table.
Tres puntos - seguimos Mucho ánimo a los heridos //
3 points vs Eibar in @LaLigaEN - and that was 4 in a row for us. My warmest thoughts go out to the injured @SevillaFC supporters. #LuchaPorLoQueAmas #VamosMiSevilla pic.twitter.com/coFff2VYoO
— Simon Kjaer (@simonkjaer1989) September 30, 2018
Speaking to Omnisport, Denmark captain Kjaer – whose team will travel to Barcelona this week – said: "I am surprised, that we are top of the table right now - especially after losing two games in a row at the beginning of the season, but I am not surprised that we have developed to play so well.
"It is too early to talk about that [winning the title], but no doubt that we enjoy the view from the top of the table right now.
"Maybe it sounds a bit boring, but as a footballer you have to take one game at the time. Our ambitions are to have everything to play for when we approach the final weeks of the season, both in the Europa League, the Copa del Rey - and being up there with the absolute giants in LaLiga."
In what could be an omen for Sevilla, they won the LaLiga title the last time they were top of the table after eight rounds of a season in 1945-46.
"We have developed a lot in a very short amount of time, and there is a lot more to come, because we still have room for improvement," Kjaer said. "If we continue to keep this mentality with everybody willing to be working hard to win, we will be even more consistent and will have a great season, because we have a super, super squad for this kind of football.
"The recent 3-0 win against Real Madrid was good for us as a team, and it was very well deserved, because we were definitely the better team.
"Personally this amazing start of the season has felt like hitting the ground running after the incredible experience and pride of being the Denmark captain at the World Cup."
Second training session of the week as we await the four internationals still to arrive.
— Sevilla FC (@SevillaFC_ENG) October 16, 2018
Sevilla's table-topping start to the season under head coach Pablo Machin comes after a turbulent 2017-18 campaign, which saw Eduardo Berizzo replaced by Vincenzo Montella in December last year.
Montella masterminded Sevilla's shock elimination of Manchester United en route to the Champions League quarter-finals before he was sacked in April – Joaquin Caparros appointed on a caretaker basis prior to Machin's arrival in May.
"It was definitely a strange and turbulent season with three different managers and two sporting directors in charge - with a lack of consistency and too many disappointing results in the league," Kjaer said. "But also with some amazing highlights."
Kjaer added: "[This season] he [Machin] has a completely clear vision for how he wants us to play. He has certainly changed a lot. We now play with three at the back, and while he has been implementing that very quickly, he has still been willing and able to adjust things within his system, always seeking to optimise our game plan.
"We started the season with one player up front, but the coach changed it to a two-man attack, and since then we have been scoring goals for fun. His ideas have been exciting, and I love the way we now play attacking football."