Emery hopes to kick-start 'stalled' Sevilla

Sevilla head coach Unai Emery is still targeting European qualification despite his team's poor recent form in La Liga.

Emery's men are winless in their past four league matches, slipping to seventh on the table and five points behind Real Sociedad.

Sociedad sit in the last UEFA Europa League place, while Sevilla are 12 points behind fourth-placed Athletic Bilbao – who occupy the final Champions League position in La Liga.

Despite their recent form, Emery said the goal still needed to be to qualify for Europe.

"We've stalled over the last few matches and now we need to start taking every game as it comes," he said ahead of Sevilla's match against Barcelona.

"Our goal should be to get into Europe and for the time being we're meeting the club's criteria."

Emery said he wanted to avoid 'waking the beast' that is Lionel Messi, when Sevilla take on Barca at the Camp Nou on Sunday, with the Argentine forward having failed to get back to his goal-scoring best in 2014.

The 42-year-old coach also tried to clarify his comments about Bernd Schuster, who he labelled a 'clown' during Malaga's 3-2 win over Sevilla.

"What I meant was that he should stop play-acting," Emery said.

"Being a clown is a very worthwhile profession - they make people happy. I apologise to anyone who was offended."