Real Madrid keep Lopetegui for Sunday’s Clasico
Coach Julen Lopetegui has been able to keep his job for the Barcelona clash. However, it is yet to be confirmed how many more games Lopetegui will have with Real Madrid. Reports this week claimed that Lopetegui had been virtually sacked from coaching Real Madrid.
In the press box before Real Madrid’s game against Viktoria Plzen, a few journalists were discussing Julen Lopetegui’s future.
“A big win and he’ll be in charge against Barcelona on Sunday,” one said. “But what if they win 1-0 and are unconvincing?” another asked. “Worse: 2-1! With the other team scoring; hanging on at the end…” a third said.
And that is precisely what happened: Madrid did win 2-1, the other team did score, and Real were unconvincing. Marca even made that their headline for Wednesday morning. “Not convincing.” And AS said: “Winning like that does not bring calm.”
“It would be a risk,” one of the journalists had said before the game in that same chat. “If Real Madrid win against Barcelona, they can’t sack Lopetegui.” Well, at least not for a while.
“I’m happy,” Lopetegui said after the game. But he did not look it. In truth, he rarely does and one journalist suggested he was downcast. “I don’t smile much,” the Basque said. But he also objected to the question. “Are you a psychologist?” he asked his inquisitor.
Over in the mixed zone, Marcelo was not smiling either. The Brazilian, who scored one of Madrid’s goals (along with Karim Benzema), finished the match with an injury after taking a knock to his ankle and is a doubt for the game against Barcelona. But he was also annoyed at some of the questions from the media and when it was put to him that Madrid had been in crisis, he snapped.
“It’s hard when you don’t win,” he said. “But you talk about a crisis. You journalists all try to harm us. Maybe it’s envy because you don’t know how to play football.”
Lopetegui will need to improve his tactics as Real Madrid kick off Sunday’s Clasico against Barcelona. The fact that Lopetegui will be leading Madrid on Sunday does not confirm his presence long-term. He will be in the dugout in Camp Nou, and his future is still in limbo it seems.