As Madrid hurtle towards a full-blown crisis, here's Sunday's post-Alavés news featuring the fate of Lopetegui and the importance of El Clásico, Odriozola's performance, and Kroos in a Madrid shirt...
Real Madrid’s defeat in Mendizorroza has put Julen Lopetegui in a tight spot. Lopetegui’s raised-pressure situation is more down to the manner of recent performances and the ensuing results than where Madrid stand in the league table – Barcelona have also stumbled, while Sevilla and Atlético have not exactly been examples of consistency either. The international break will come as a welcome relief for the Madrid coach and will give him a chance to regroup and reassess. However, there is one fixture lying on the murky horizon which could signal the end for Lopetegui; Madrid travel to the Camp Nou on 28 October and a heavy defeat could see Los Blancos looking for a new face in the dugout.
Lopetegui has won 14 points – four wins, two draws and two defeats – in his first eight games in LaLiga. Of the 45 coaches to have managed Los Blancos, ten have had worse starts. There may be hope yet for the former national team coach.
In a toothless performance by Real Madrid, particularly in attack and the worrying lack of final product, sharpness and confidence, there was one glimmer of hope in Álvaro Odriozola. The Basque right-back tried to give Madrid something they were missing down the right-hand side, constituting one of the few options to open up the Alavés defence before he ran out of steam.
Varane – “We have to stick together”
After the Alavés defeat, the Real Madrid defender was keen to stress positivity and unity going forward, particularly given that Madrid have now gone over six hours without finding the net: “Scoring is the decisive part of the game. It changes both the match and your level of confidence. If we’d scored in the first half then everything changes and things go your way. Goals are obviously important. Then on the pitch there are periods that are better or worse, but that always happens. We have to be positive. We’ll be criticised but we have to stick together,” he said.
Toni Kroos played his 200th official game in a Madrid shirt on Saturday, and is now only behind fellow compatriot Stielike (308) in the most appearances for Real Madrid by a German player.