Valencia manager Marcelino has claimed that there aren’t any differences between Real Madrid under Julen Lopetegui and under Santiago Solari.
The Spaniard takes his Valencia side to the Santiago Bernabéu to face Solari and Madrid on Saturday evening (19:45 KO GMT) having not lost an away game in La Liga since August.
Former Los Blancos striker Rodrigo is unavailable to face his previous employers due to injury while midfielder Carlos Soler is a doubt for the same reason.
Real Madrid’s Isco is back in the squad having been left out entirely against Roma in the Champions League in midweek.
Valencia are coming into this Real Madrid match-up on the back of Champions League elimination on Tuesday. Los Che were beaten in Turin by Juventus while Manchester United secured their progress through Marouane Fellaini’s late winner against Young Boys.
Marcelino was praised throughout last season for turning the club’s fortunes around and earning them a spot among Europe’s elite once more. However, this campaign has seen a drop in performance levels and far too many draws.
Real Madrid meanwhile have been through the most turbulent period in the club’s recent history and were convincingly beaten by Eibar last weekend. Julen Lopetegui was sacked in October and replaced by Santiago Solari and Marcelino hasn’t seen much change.
“I don’t see great differences between Lopetegui’s Madrid and Solari’s Madrid. The results weren’t satisfying and now they’ve won five out of six matches. They play with the same system.
“We are expecting the best Madrid, with great individual talent, to approach the game with enthusiasm, personality and conviction. The Champions League matches will help us to improve in this game. And help us to win the game.”
Santiago Solari has been dealing with problems of his own. Although the results have been impressive since his reign began, that damaging defeat in Eibar hasn’t done wonders for his reputation.
“I don’t read the sports pages, I read the general press. They’re all professional and work really well. We have young boys but the majority are mature and I don’t think the outside can distract them,” the Argentine said of the noise surrounding his team.
One of Zinedine Zidane’s mainstays during his time in charge of Los Blancos was playmaker Isco. The Spaniard is yet to start a game under Solari and was left out of the squad to face Roma on Tuesday. Solari was very clear when talking about the midfielder.
“Sincerely, it’s a topic that’s gone far enough. They are one-off decisions. I do what I consider to be best for each player, they are all important because they all play for Real Madrid.”