August 5, 2021

Real Madrid: Lopetegui stirs the team, the locker room and the box | sports

Real Madrid: Lopetegui stirs the team, the locker room and the box | sports

On Thursday, September 27 – hours after the 3-0 defeat in Seville – Real Madrid activated the alarm protocols early in the morning. The phones of several external agents were sounded and the kind of maneuvers that every great football institution starts with stealth began when it begins to probe the market in search of emergency solutions. For some time now, the directors of Madrid have been watching the coach, Julen Lopetegui, with a magnifying glass, in the face of doubts caused by their decisions, which have been badly validated by the results, and in anticipation of the measures that would have to be taken in case the team collapsed before Christmas. Since the defeat in Vitoria, this Saturday (1-0), players in the dressing room are also unhappy with the measures taken by the coach, who has tried several formulas without resolutely bowing for any.

The succession of four games without winning pushes Lopetegui to search for solutions and warms the feelings of the players. From the dressing room they observe that there are several players hurt. Casemiro, because they have replaced him at key moments; Asensio, because in Vitoria he was a substitute for the first time in the League, as if he were accused of defeat in Moscow; and Modric because he perceives that the technician does not support him with the faith that Zidane did, they join the list of the moody. Lopetegui's statements after the defeat of Mendizorroza, emphasizing that the crisis is mainly due to casualties (Marcelo, Carvajal, Benzema, Bale and Isco) raises the susceptibility of those who are healthy and justifies in the injuries some changes that the doctors do not ratify. As much as they examined it, the doctors did not detect any clinical trace of the muscular ailment that allegedly forced the change of Bale in the derby.

In Vitoria the coach ended up aligning all the new signings for the first time this year. Courtois, Vinicius, Marcelo and Odriozola were formed in an emergency 4-3-3 after Lopetegui bet from the beginning by a 4-4-2 that from the derby inspired greater security. The mutation involved the whole attack. None of the alternatives improved the game. On the psychological level there was no reaction either. Mariano, who has never been a starter, does not feel reinforced in his self-esteem; and Benzema, who always plays but ends up substituted, either.

The visit to San Mamés (1-1) coincided with the beginning of a period of alteration. Since then, the coach makes plans that he then amends in the break of the matches and relies on players who change before the start of the second part. Against Athletic, he started by laying Casemiro to give Ceballos a flight and at the break he took Ceballos out and recovered Casemiro. The team resented.

The corrections in minute 45 usually indicate two things in the tacit code of football: that the coach was wrong or that the players do not respond. In Bilbao, Casemiro was upset because he was a substitute and Ceballos was publicly pointed out once the game did not flow. The disagreement between boss and subordinates is accentuated by the obstacles. Not a player feels revalued.

Lopetegui made changes in the derby break (Ceballos by Bale); he repeated movements in the 58th minute against CSKA (Modric and Mariano for Casemiro and Vázquez); and again changed men and scheme against Alavés in minute 45 and 62 (Mariano for Benzema and Asensio for Casemiro) again arguing injuries are not evident.

The vicious circle of bad results, hasty decisions and loss of morale spoiled Madrid in Virotia. The technician attributed the depression to "a negative dynamic". Lopetegui risks losing control in the middle of the curve.

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