Julen Lopetegui has spoken to reporters ahead of Real Madrid’s Champions League opening fixture against Roma tomorrow night, where he was drawn into questions on the game, Champions League pressure, Mariano and Luka Modric.
Feelings ahead of the game: “Pride, a sense of responsibility because Madrid always has a responsibility [to do well] in all competitions, and a lot of enthusiasm for a competition that … I can’t explain what the Champions League for Madrid means. We will try to start it on the right foot.”
It will be the first Champions League without Ronaldo. What does that mean for Real Madrid? “We’re only focused on our players. We love our squad and they are ready to fight for everything. We are convinced that we’re going to have a great run … We’re focused on the players that are here.
Mariano and Vinicius. Do you see them with real options to play? Mariano is a regular on the squad list and if he is on that list, he can be part of the starting lineup. We have no doubts that he will help us this season. Vinicius is very young and he is competing very well at Castilla and when we feel that he can help us, we’ll decide what we have to decide.”
Keylor or Courtois in goal? "I will not say anything at all. We have great options in goal and we will make the decision that we make, and for sure we will succeed. I will not say who will play.”
Pressure to win the Champions League: "The first thing you have to do it take off your hat to Madrid, to the squad and their [previous] coach. From there, what we are going to try to do is to compete with a lot of enthusiasm, ambition and hard work, to face each competition with enthusiasm. The pressure on Madrid always exists, which is logical and normal.”
Modric’s physical condition: “It's fine, he is getting better. He has had a hectic summer, with manydifferent circumstances, and for that he has to rest and he is resting between training and games. I see him getting better and better prepared."
Roma: "I expect an ambitious and aggressive team; it is the style of Roma. They are a well-prepared team.”