Santiago Solari insists his own future does not matter after Real Madrid win

Sport360 staff 07:20 12/11/2018
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Santiago Solari

Santiago Solari insisted his own future was immaterial after Real Madrid continued their recovery with a 4-2 La Liga victory at Celta Vigo.

Interim boss Solari oversaw a fourth consecutive win since succeeding the sacked Julen Lopetegui last month – and could now be handed the Real reins full-time.

Solari’s future is set to be determined on Monday as Spanish league rules dictate caretaker managers cannot be in charge of a club for more than 14 days.

After that time, the temporary boss must be made permanent if they are to continue in the role – and it will be exactly two weeks on Monday since Solari was put in charge.

But asked if another victory made him the favourite for the job full-time, Solari said it did not matter.

“The important thing is to do what is necessary for the good of the team, everything else doesn’t matter,” Solari told reporters after the match.

Real took advantage of league leaders Barcelona’s surprise 4-3 home defeat to Real Betis earlier in the day to cut the gap to top spot to four points.

Karim Benzema and a Gustavo Cabral own goal gave Real a 2-0 lead at Balaidos before Hugo Mallo reduced the deficit.

Sergio Ramos, from the penalty spot, and substitute Dani Ceballos added late goals either side of a red card for Cabral, before Celta’s Brais Mendez had the final word in stoppage time.

But Solari was upset with forceful Celta challenges, which often went unpunished.

Casemiro went off in the first 20 minutes and Gareth Bale and Alvaro Odriozla were also limping at the end after being clattered.

“Celta played very aggresively,” Solari said.

“Casemiro had to come off, Gareth made a huge effort because the kick he received was causing him problems.

“Their challenges were at the limit of what’s allowed and we suffered because of that.”

Real director Emilio Butragueno hinted after the game that Solari will be staying on at Los Blancos, saying: “The truth is that we are very happy with him.”

Butragueno told Movistar+: “There is no doubt that he came at a very particular moment and has been able to achieve very good results.

“It was a very complicated game and we also had setbacks with injuries, (but) we had personality and character.

“We have very good players and the team is getting better and better, we took advantage of our chances and we are very happy, we must continue in this way.

“The line-up that finished the game is a clear example that we have a competitive squad, as the team has the personality to aspire to everything.”

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Real Madrid will not rush 'special' Isco back to action, says Santiago Solari

Sport360 staff 13:07 11/11/2018
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Isco

Real Madrid interim coach Santiago Solari insists he is unwilling to rush Isco back into the action until he reaches peak fitness.

The 26-year-old had an operation on his appendix in September and has not started any of Los Blancos’ past three games – all wins since Solari took charge on October 30.

The former Real Madrid B coach praised the Spain international but said the playmaker still had work to do to get back to his best form.

“We know Isco’s quality and how special he is. He is training to get back to peak fitness,” he said.

“He had a delicate operation and it’s not easy to come out of that, but he is training with the group.

“All of us who have been footballers know that you have to keep training to get back to your best.”

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Barcelona icon Andres Iniesta voices support for ex-Real Madrid coach Julen Lopetegui

Sport360 staff 19:05 07/11/2018
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Iniesta spent two years with Lopetegui in national colours

Former Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta has voiced his support for sacked former Real Madrid coach Julen Lopetegui, who he holds in high regard.

Ex-Spain captain Iniesta shared his thoughts on Lopetegui’s dismissal as both national team and Los Blancos boss in a span of less than five months.

Iniesta had shared a strong bond with Lopetegui during the two years of the latter’s tenure as La Roja coach.

The World Cup winner and two-time European Championships winner has voiced his support for his unfortunate compatriot.

“My relationship with Julen began when he took over at the national team, and we had a strong relationship,” Iniesta told Onda Cero.

“Nobody wanted what happened at the World Cup to unfold, and personally he made me feel important, so I messaged him just the other day.”

Iniesta has sympathy for former Spain and Real coach Lopetegui.

Iniesta has sympathy for former Spain and Real coach Lopetegui.

Lopetegui was announced as Real manager two days before the World Cup kicked off and was subsequently sacked as Spain’s head coach the next day.

This had adverse affects Spain’s World Cup campaign in Russia and the 2010 champions were subject to a shock exit in the round of 16 after going down on penalties against hosts Russia.

“In football, what happens to the coach is dictated by the results and the dynamics of football and we must accept these things can happen,” added Iniesta.

Iniesta, meanwhile, maintains that El Clasico is a huge fixture and the desire to win which is shared by all the players of Barca and Real outweighs the absence of a player, even if that player is Lionel Messi – who missed the recent 5-1 thrashing handed out by Barca to their fierce rivals.

Iniesta added: “Did I watch El Clasico? Barca were superior, and it was not important that Lionel Messi was not available as everyone plays at their highest level for these games.”

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