Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Lopetegui believes Real Madrid win can be turning point

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 23 Oct 2018

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Julen Lopetegui is hopeful Real Madrid’s Champions League win against Viktoria Plzen can prove a turning point, insisting he is “feeling fine” amid speculation surrounding his future.

Madrid head coach Lopetegui was reportedly on the brink of the sack ahead of the Champions League clash with Plzen, but the European titleholders scraped a 2-1 win at the Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday.

A hostile home crowd perhaps did not improve Lopetegui’s chances of keeping his job, however Madrid director Emilio Butragueno suggested after the match that the former Spain boss would be heading to Barcelona for Sunday’s Clasico.

Lopetegui sought to avoid the rumours in his post-match news conference, happy to instead reflect on a first win in six games in all competitions.

“The most important thing was the three points – it always is in the Champions League,” he said. “I stick to the positives: winning the game and ending the negative run. The team will grow from this and the victories will help bring calm.

“The dynamics do not change from one day to the next but I think this can be a turning point for us.”

And although Lopetegui looked sullen throughout the cagey Plzen encounter, he insisted the pressure is not getting to him.

“Have you studied psychology? I am feeling fine,” he said when asked about his demeanour. “It’s just I don’t tend to smile very much generally.

“I am much happier today than against Levante. It was very important to win and break the run. A more emphatic win would have been better – and we deserved that as we created many chances but did not take them. With a more relaxed atmosphere, that will happen.

“I am happy. I am tired, but I am happy. These are three important points, considering where we are coming from.”

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