Sport

Real's Carvajal: 'Lopetegui is the best coach I've had'

Real's Carvajal: 'Lopetegui is the best coach I've had'”

In Santiago Solari's first Champions League match in charge of the club, the manager has to cater to the absences of Mariano Diaz, Marcelo, Jesus Vallejo, Raphael Varane and Dani Carvajal, who miss out through injuries. If Solari can continue his winning start into that match, it will be tough to see past Madrid getting what they need to finish top.

Real Madrid took a huge step towards clinching a spot in the Champions League knockout stage on Wednesday with a 5-0 rout of Viktoria Plzen as Karim Benzema scored two of four first-half goals for the Spanish giants. "We have the players here to score lots of goals and that's what we did". We came into the game fully focused and it showed.

"I can just think about the next game", he said.

MF Casemiro, 6 - Another game in which the holding midfielder's aerial threat at set-pieces was more useful to his team than his covering of opposition counter-attacks.

The Czech team tied CSKA Moscow on September 19, but then suffered a blowout loss to Roma on October 2, falling 5-0, before defeat at the Bernabeu.

"Julen is a great coach but we are with Solari now, and playing with more confidence", Benzema said.

One of the big calls Solari has made since taking over was to end a policy of rotating goalkeepers between La Liga and the Champions League, with Thibaut Courtois now starting both competitions and last year's first choice Keylor Navas now thought to be unhappy at being benched.

"You must not know Real Madrid", Solari responded.

Two weeks on from stuttering to a 2-1 win against the same opponents, the reigning European champions made light work of this fourth Group G outing, earning a comfortable win that takes them above Roma at the top.

DF Alvaro Odriozola, 7 - A deliberate handball following a mis-control was symptomatic of Madrid's early nerves, but his pace on the cover was very useful on three separate occasions to thwart Plzen breaks.



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