On Monday, pitch No.1 at Valdebebas saw the return to training of the Real Madrid players who had not been called up for international duty after they had been given three days of rest by Julen Lopetegui.
After four consecutive games without winning, or even scoring, Real Madrid’s next three games have taken on increased importance, as they face Levante, Viktoria Plzen and Barcelona – three blue and red teams who could define Real Madrid and Lopetegui’s season.
The coach returned on Monday in an attempt to turn the situation around and, while he doesn’t have most of his internationals to work with, Marcelo and Gareth Bale will be available for selection again imminently.
It’s crunch time and it’s now Real Madrid’s time for…
In football, the first person to fall when results aren’t coming is the coach, which Lopetegui is painfully aware of and he has the experience to know that he has to react
He needs to recover the feeling from the start of the season when, despite losing to Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup, Real Madrid boasted good results and there was positivity surrounding the side as they won praise from fans and the media.
But where there were flowers there are now colourless branches and Lopetegui can’t find the right formula at the moment, with the team struggling to even score a goal.
The coach remains optimistic, though, despite the recent setbacks and he has transmitted his belief that the side are going to turn things around.
Dani Carvajal will join Bale and Marcelo in returning from injury soon in a boost to their chances of getting back on track.
… scoring goals
The seemingly endless scoring drought is an obvious problem for Real Madrid at the moment and they are going through a very delicate situation.
It is time for them to end this crisis and to find the net and it seems like forever ago that Marco Asensio scored their last – back on September 22 against Espanyol.
Since then they have gone 496 minutes and broken a record that stood since 1984/85.
The results have been poor – 3-0, 0-0, 1-0 and 1-0 – and these have come against mixed opposition in Sevilla, Atletico, CSKA Moscow and Alaves.
Levante visit the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu next and the clock is set against Los Blancos, who will grow increasingly desperate to score with every passing minute.
… players returning
Injuries had become a problem for Lopetegui and the good news is finally coming, with Marcelo and Bale set to return.
Karim Benzema could also be fit, while Carvajal is still ruled out for a little longer.
Aside from the recovering injured players, Lopetegui will have to ‘recover’ the mentalities of those struggling for form recently and nobody has come through this recent slump with their confidence still intact.
… regaining confidence
Real Madrid’s immediate aim is to get out of the crisis they currently find themselves in and to rediscover the confidence they have lost in the last month.
Levante, Viktoria Plzen and Barcelona will close out the month of October and could determine how the season goes from there.
The visit to the Camp Nou could present a potential turning point for Los Blancos and these are three matches than will undeniably shape the future and present a real challenge for the players to step up and show their true potential.