Real Madrid manager Julen Lopetegui is not in any immediate danger of being sacked despite reports that the 52-year-old wouldn’t be in charge for the highly anticipated Clásico this weekend, according to club director Emilio Butragueño.
The former Spain boss has had a tough start to life in the Spanish capital but Real Madrid secured a much needed win during their Champions League group stage match against Viktoria Plzeň on Tuesday.
Rumours ahead of the game suggested that Lopetegui would be booted out ahead of Sunday’s match regardless of the result in the Champions League. However, director Butragueño told Movistar that their head coach will be on the touchline at the Camp Nou.
“Lopetegui will sit on the bench at Camp Nou as normal,” Butragueño said, quoted by the Express. “In these kinds of situations, it is important to remain calm and trust the players. Sunday’s game is a great motivation for us.
“It is normal. This is football,” he added over the recent speculation. “We have heard the rumours, but we have confidence and hopefully we will play well at Camp Nou.”
Despite Butragueño’s confidence in Lopetegui, there is a feeling around the Santiago Bernabéu that the head coach has to be sacked if Real Madrid want to achieve their goals this season.
Putting the blame solely at Lopetegui’s feet, however, isn’t entirely fair on the former Spanish national team boss. Real Madrid’s biggest problem this season has been scoring goals, an issue which wasn’t associated with the La Liga giants throughout Cristiano Ronaldo’s time at the club.
Ronaldo’s departure for Juventus has left a huge gap in the club’s attacking threat which summer signings Mariano Díaz and Vinícius Júnior were never going to be able to fill in their short-term future.
The drop in form from the likes of Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale hasn’t helped Real Madrid either. Los Blancos have scored the same amount of goals this season as Celta Vigo and Espanyol, while also having a worse defensive record than Deportivo Alavés.