It’s been two weeks now, since Real Madrid underwent replenishing in management when Julen Lopetegui was sacked on October 28th, and Santiago Solari took over for Los Blancos the next day. The latter came as the temporary attempt of Florentino Pérez to reinstate this season’s track record.
Since then, things have drastically changed for the Spanish giants, and Solari was confirmed today as the boss for the remainder of the 2018-2019 season. What has been the reset button that is saving the talented ex-winger’s job?
Justifiably, Lopetegui was removed from coaching responsibilities after Real Madrid’s intimidating days were started to be seen as a thing of the past. During the summer, the side lost the UEFA Super Cup matchup against rivals of Atlético Madrid, foreshadowing a tough start to the season. Throughout October, Madrid suffered a string of losses, with one served cold by Barcelona. Although they were able to procure occasional wins, the top half of the La Liga table was proving to be too tall for them.
Since the hiring, Solari has certainly changed something for Madrid. The Argentinian’s effect has given four convincing wins in four matches for Real. While encompassing the Champions League, La Liga, and Copa del Rey, the successes have been achieved with 15 goals scored and two conceded.
How did Solari turn Lopetegui’s failures into valuable assets?
The biggest mistake that Lopetegui made was to emulate Zidane’s formation. This was done in absence of Cristiano Ronaldo, who was imperative to Real Madrid’s style of attack during Zidane’s tenure. Maybe a victim of great pressure, Lopetegui attempted to preserve Ronaldo’s effect by substituting his presence with that of Mariano, and by benching Benzema.
Obviously that didn’t work, and while the front was struggling to put together any shots on goal, the defensive line was suffering the aftermath of counter attacks, often breaking under the quick reactions of opposing teams.
In contrast, Solari has seemingly pushed aside the Zidanesque Real Madrid to reset the whole team, concentrating on center forwards, and forgetting about the powerful presence of Cristiano from the left. Consequently, Benzema has seen the end of midfield religiously funneling passes towards him. The French star’s name has often showed more than once in Madrid’s scoreboard, truly flourishing in the 2-4 win against Celta Vigo.
In tandem with offensive efforts, the defensive line has also shown determination for reinstatement. Led by Sergio Ramos, Real have conceded two goals (courtesy of Celta Vigo) in one match out of the four under Solari. In all fairness, even those two goals would have been stopped had it not been for Marcelo and Carvajal missing the game.
Apparently, Real Madrid’s season has just started, having found a very comfortable position under Solari and among great pressure of what is expected of the Champions League trophy-holders. Nevertheless, they have yet to be put under a truly challenging test, in order for them to protect their reputation and place their name among trophy seekers for the 2018-2019 season.
Cover photo: espncdn.com
Lopetegui photo: ipetitions.com
Solari photo: minutemediacdn.com
Benzema photo: pasionfutbol.com
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