Don’t blame Lopetegui completely, look higher up

05 Oct 2018

The temptation to look for blame is sizeable, as Julen Lopetegui has now suffered his third defeat in his first 10 matches as Real Madrid coach, a record which makes him the worst coach of the Florentino Perez era.

Arsenio and Hiddink did something similar and for that reason it’s very easy in the journalism game to turn any Los Blancos slip into an apocalyptic situation, in the same way that the great victories are taken straight to the heavens.

This is the easiest thing to do following the debacle in Moscow.

Yes, the team had significant injury troubles with Marcelo, Gareth Bale and Isco all missing out, and Sergio Ramos was also rested, however, the Spanish coach didn’t approach this match to simply avoid defeat.

He pushed hard to salvage a result until the very last minute, but he had a distinct lack of resources which allowed an inferior opponent in CSKA to take full advantage.

Perhaps he deserves it, yet the urge to point out the coach’s failings is as powerful as the desire of a four-year-old with a giant bag of sweets.

There are those who see him with the face of Rafael Benitez, but the reality is that this new post-Cristiano Ronaldo Real Madrid has serious deficiencies.

The squad has been weakened over the years and they have fallen victim to a huge excess of confidence in relation to their future potential for success.

With each Champions League success came a feeling of invincibility no matter what occurred.

Such a loss of footballing resources and talent is glaring and makes the decision not to reinforce even more irresponsible.

Real Madrid continue to live in a fantasy world of chasing Neymar‘s signature and trying to redevelop the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu whilst their team grew weaker.

Cristiano Ronaldo didn’t play against Roma on Matchday one and Los Blancos emerged victorious, but to allow someone who contributed 451 goals in nine seasons to leave, essentially retiring early, without attempting to fill the vacancy is basically what Keylor Navas said:

Cristiano set the bar very high at Real Madrid,” he explained in the mixed zone on Tuesday.

“You can’t cover the sun with a single finger.”

Risk comes with believing yourself to be infallible, and it’s as if Florentino Perez felt he was able to bring the moon with just a rope.

He didn’t even listen to the prayers of great players such as Eden Hazard but rather sat back and relied on the most optimistic of predictions, for example Bale staying injury free and Karim Benzema making up the goal-scoring shortfall left by Ronaldo‘s departure.

He also subscribed to the belief that Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane don’t need to be rested and that age will not come to impact Luka Modric and Toni Kroos.

He could have replaced Mateo Kovacic but elected not to and Dani Ceballos has already played more Champions League minutes than in the previous campaign.

Alvaro Odriozola is making his debut in the competition, whilst on the bench Vinicius Junior appears a player whom Lopetegui doesn’t quite know what to do with.

The solution is located somewhat nearby with Real Madrid‘s basketball team being the prime example for many in sport.

They are possibly once again the best team in Europe for the 2018 season, despite losing the best player on the continent in Luka Doncic to the NBA.

This is called having a solid structure which follows a pre-determined plan to the letter and then executing that plan to perfection.

Also, basketball decisions are made by those who know basketball.

In this stormy start to the season, don’t blame Lopetegui, look higher up.

You can read this article in Spanish here.

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