Man of flexible, cordial and imaginative nature, when Santiago Solari puts on the suit of coach of Real Madrid and appears in public he undergoes a robotic metamorphosis. It becomes rigid. He had hardly taken off a tuft of hair when he went to the conference room to deliver one of his structured, measured and cautious speeches. He had just crossed the threshold that history reserves for very few coaches: to direct a classic. It was his big night and only his satisfaction was noticed by the slight blush of his cheeks and the badly repressed smile. He had collected a broken team after 5-1 of the League Classic at the Camp Nou on October 28 and had completed the circle on the same stage with a 1-1 that three months later validated his good work. If Barça is the best touchstone, the match that destroyed Julen Lopetegui's project served to demonstrate that the appointment of Solari as his successor was a success. Whatever the destination of this season, thanks to Solari Madrid has remained afloat through the storm.
"In terms of justice it is difficult to talk when we talk about football," said the coach, asked about the justice of the draw. "We had clear chances in the first half and at the end of the second. I especially remember an opportunity for Gareth alone before the goalkeeper. I prefer that it has been a beautiful game, very beautiful, with a lot of quality, colorful and alternating. Nice for those of us who were working and for fans of any club. "
"The comparisons are unsuccessful," he said, when asked about the contrast of his good match against the team shipwreck in the last act of the Lopetegui tragedy. "I can only say that we show a group of players who work very seriously. That's confirmed by today's game. We leave satisfied with what we did. But it is an open tie. There is a lot of quality on the pitch and that makes the second leg at the Bernabéu [el próximo 27 de febrero] A lot of things can happen in a short time. "
"I'm not surprised Vinicius," he replied, asked about the Brazilian's good performance; "Because I know him. But I understand that an 18-year-old boy develops in this surprising way in general terms because it is not something that happens very often. It has merit he and his colleagues who advise him, sustain him and give substance to the parties so that he can shine. "
Solari barely left the armor when someone pointed out the match that Lucas Vázquez had made and they asked him for the reasons for the confidence he has placed in him. "Lucas has some of the virtues that I value most of the Spanish character", he answered; "He is supportive and he is brave".
The technician admitted being concerned about the discomfort suffered by Marcos Llorente in the right adductor. The midfielder had to be replaced by Casemiro in the second half and, by his gestures, it seems unlikely he is ready to play the derby in Wanda next Saturday. "We are going step by step," said the coach, reluctant to admit that the crossing with Barca will wear out his team, forced to recover from the effort in two and a half days.
Solari showed his more airtight flank when asked by Marcelo, who is, along with Isco, the soccer player who has marginalized the most. Very desasistido by Kroos, that barely tilted in his aid, the Brazilian side was overwhelmed by the joint adventures of Malcom and Semedo. Interrogated by the bad night that Marcelo had just experienced, the technician avoided pronouncing on the point. "Marcelo," he said, circling, "is our second captain. It is one hundred percent Real Madrid. Put the club before everything. We work to find the best version of all the players. "
"It is difficult to defend when you are superior," warned Dani Carvajal, justifying Marcelo's problems on the other side. While he defended with the help of Modric and Lucas, Marcelo did it with the young Vinicius and the distracted Kroos.
"After the break we took a little step back," said Carvajal, the most self-critical of the Madridistas. The lateral confessed that his team speculated with the 0-1: "It was a good result for the away goal, but we leave with the feeling of being able to get more."