BSP-22 Solari open to Real Madrid job long-term

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Solari open to Real Madrid job long-term

MADRID, Oct 30, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – Santiago Solari said he is open to
becoming Real Madrid coach long-term after being put in temporary charge on
Monday following the sacking of Julen Lopetegui.

Solari has been promoted from his role as manager of the club’s B team,
Castilla, and took training for the first time on Tuesday morning at Madrid’s
base in Valdebebas.

The Argentinian, who spent five years playing for Madrid between 2000 and
2005, will be in charge for their Copa del Rey game away to Melilla on
Wednesday. He has not ruled out becoming Lopetegui’s permanent successor.

“I’m going to go into things very positively,” Solari said at his opening
press conference on Tuesday.

“I will do everything I can. It’s a great opportunity and it’s a great
club. I don’t just say that now as coach of the first team. I’ve been here
with other teams, I’ve played and sweated in the shirt of this club.

“Madrid is bigger than all of us but it touches us all with its greatness.
I want to be a part of it.”

Solari is likely to remain in post for Real’s La Liga game at home to Real
Valladolid on Saturday and could stay on for next week’s trip to Viktoria
Plzen in the Champions League.

Madrid have sounded out forrmer Chelsea and Juventus coach Antonio Conte
but initial talks have reportedly not gone smoothly. Belgium boss Roberto
Martinez and the club’s former midfielder Guti have also been linked.

Solari, however, is the man in position and a run of positive results
could turn opinion in his favour. Asked about his strategy against Melilla,
he said “the idea is to go there and play with balls”.

Lopetegui paid the price for five defeats in seven matches, the last a 5-1
thrashing at the hands of Barcelona on Sunday. Solari believes the players
are determined to turn things around.

“They are hurting, obviously, but eager to reverse the situation,” Solari
said. “This is a group of champions, warriors, who have won many things. The
situation is not the easiest, but I have seen them eager to change it.”

Solari was keen to dismiss comparisons with Zinedine Zidane, who also
stepped up from coaching Castilla, before leading Madrid to three consecutive
Champions League titles.

“He’s one of the greatest things we’ve ever had at this club,” Solari
said. “He’s very calm, a great coach and nobody can compare to him.”

Solari will be without Raphael Varane and Mariano Diaz on Wednesday, after
Madrid confirmed the pair had sustained injuries against Barcelona.

Varane, who came off at half-time at the Camp Nou, has an adductor problem
while Mariano has picked up a hamstring strain.

Any extended absence, particularly for Varane, would be a blow. After
Plzen, Madrid face Celta Vigo and Eibar in La Liga next month, before a
potentially decisive game away to Roma in the Champions League.

BSS/AFP/BZC/2030HRS