As much as we can debate, complain about and congratulate the sacking of Julen Lopetegui earlier this week one thing is for sure – we cannot turn back the clock.
Madrid began life without Lopetegui at the helm on Wednesday with a 4-0 thrashing of Melilla in the Copa del Rey and all Madridistas can look towards now is the future.
Santiago Solari will take charge of the wounded team for the first time in LaLiga on Saturday when in-form Real Valladolid, owned by Madrid legend Ronaldo, visit the Spanish capital for what is set to be a tense afternoon of football.
Solari, as with any new coach at the helm, will be given his support by the Madrid faithful when his name is read out at around 16:00 CET on Saturday. The Argentine is a legend as a player and has worked his way up the ranks of the club’s youth set-up, resulting in a couple of years in charge of the ‘B team’, Real Madrid Castilla.
It’s a new era and, whatever the thoughts on the Lopetegui situation, fans must get behind Solari and his team as Madrid look to rescue a season they do not want to see end in tatters.
The one thing that rang true from the somewhat cruel announcement Madrid put out announcing Lopetegui’s sacking was that there is still time to save the season, despite trailing the lead leaders Barcelona by seven points. Madrid are still alive in all competitions and we’ve seen how this has ended before.
Solari will be supported tomorrow but his hand will be somewhat forced with his team selection, especially at the back. Dani Carvajal, Raphael Varane and Dani Carvajal are all set to be missing, meaning Solari will not have many options at the back. For a team that conceded five against a Messi-less Barcelona at the weekend – that is worrying.
Los Blancos may look at the opposition and think the three points will be a walk in the park but Valladolid arrive in the capital on the back of an impressive unbeaten run and with a large travelling contingent keen to see their side heap more misery on Madrid. The last home Liga match against Levante should be warning enough.
The biggest question mark over the starting eleven will be over Vinicius. The Brazilian starlet has had few minutes with the first team this season but was the man-of-the-match in his first start in midweek, albeit without finding the back of the net. That Solari knows him from his so-far short stint with Castilla should only help.
A new era begins at the Bernabéu this weekend, albeit only a temporary basis for there time being. Should the results go well in the coming 10 days, however, the new era could well be extended with Solari at the helm.