Seville's shock exit threatens Alvarez with early departure

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The Independent Football

Seville's failure to qualify for the Champions League group stages has put coach Antonio Alvarez's future in doubt before La Liga has even started.

The Spaniards were well beaten by modest Portuguese side Sporting Braga, who will debut in Europe's top club competition after a surprise 5-3 aggregate win on Tuesday. A 4-3 second-leg defeat at their Sanchez Pizjuan stadium saw Seville booed off the pitch, and president Jose Maria del Nido struggled to hide his disappointment.

"There's no need to consider making changes, at the moment I think it would be premature and it would be bad for the entity," Del Nido said when asked about Alvarez. Coming hot on the heels of Saturday's 4-0 drubbing against Barcelona in the Spanish Super Cup, Del Nido added: "We haven't achieved either of our two objectives for August. [But] football continues and we still have the Europa League."

Alvarez, who replaced Manolo Jimenez in March, has struggled to win over fans despite leading them victory in the King's Cup final in May. He maintained he had no intentions of quitting. "The season's only just starting, we have received two hefty blows but I'm only thinking about training again tomorrow, and lifting the morale of my players," Alvarez said.

Also on Tuesday, Werder Bremen pulled off a spectacular escape act to oust Sampdoria. Werder, leading 3-1 from the first leg, went 3-0 down at Sampdoria before substitute Markus Rosenberg scored in the third minute of stoppage time to set up extra-time.

Claudio Pizarro then scored as the Bundesliga team lost 3-2 on the night but qualified 5-4 on aggregate to leave Spain and Italy with only three teams in Europe's top club competition.