Solari arrival reopens Navas-Courtois debate at Madrid
Up to now, Solari has not given any clue about his goalkeeping plan, but an article that he wrote for Spanish daily El País may hint at his preference for continuity over rotation.
The arrival of Santiago Solari following the sacking of Julen Lopetegui has reopened the debate surrounding goalkeepers Keylor Navas and Thibaut Courtois. During his brief spell in charge, Julen Lopetegui had implemented a rotational system, which favoured Navas for Champions League games and Courtois for LaLiga fixtures; while Kiko Casilla seemed destined for Copa del Rey duties.
Solari, however, surprisingly left Casilla in the stands on Wednesday night for a Copa del Rey game against Second Division Melilla that would have been fitting for the third-choice keeper in Lopetegui’s rotational system. Instead, he chose Navas, and now the interim coach has a big decision on who to place between the sticks for this weekend’s crucial LaLiga clash against Valladolid.
Up to now, Solari has not given any clue about his goalkeeping plan; when asked about it after the game against Melilla, “we’ll see” was his brief response.
But a series of articles that he wrote for Spanish daily El País may give some clue regarding his preference for continuity over rotation. It was after Mourinho dropped Casillas that Solari wrote: "Last week, on the radio, they asked me about Mourinho's changes in the Madrid goal. I said that I am in favour of continuity in such a delicate position but that, once a change has been decided, I think it is advisable to stick with it until the end – precisely for the same reasons that I am in favour of sticking with the original decision from the beginning.”
Casilla could move on
What is certain is that his arrival has completely changed the scenario for Kiko Casilla, who will inevitably have to look for another team in the January transfer window if he knows he is not even guaranteed cup games.
Now there are those who claim that Solari gave the Melilla match to Keylor because the Costa Rican will play cup games and Courtois will be favoured for LaLiga and Champions League ties. But regardless of what everyone is claiming, after Saturday's game against Valladolid and the Champions League clash against Viktoria Plzen on Wednesday, Solari will have ended debate.
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