October 20, 2018 / 2:37 PM / a month ago

Soccer-Under-fire Lopetegui not thinking about sack as Real slide continues

MADRID, Oct 20 (Reuters) - Real Madrid coach Julen Lopetegui said he is not preoccupied by the threat of being sacked despite his side crashing to a third consecutive defeat by going down 2-1 at home to Levante in La Liga on Saturday.

Levante raced into a two-goal lead inside 15 minutes at the Santiago Bernabeu through Jose Luis Morales and a penalty from Roger Marti yet Real hit the woodwork three times and had two goals ruled out.

Marcelo finally ended Real’s longest ever goal drought, spanning 482 minutes, by thumping into the net but an equaliser proved elusive for Lopetegui’s side, who are fifth in the La Liga standings.

“Right now that (his position) is the last thing that I’m thinking about,” Lopetegui told reporters.

“I feel more encouraged than ever to continue because the team gave their heart and soul on the pitch. Sooner or later we will come out of this.

“The dressing room was sad but the players are keen to lift themselves up and look to the next game. The players gave everything and we will get out of this situation.”

Lopetegui, sacked as Spain coach on the eve of the World Cup after announcing he was joining Real, has lost five games in all competitions since taking over the European champions and has also presided over the club’s worst ever goal drought.

Real host Viktoria Plzen in the Champions League on Tuesday before a crunch game away to arch rivals Barcelona next Sunday and the coach admitted his team need to have a meeting to address their failures in front of goal.

“We have to sit down and think hard about what we are doing wrong and change our path. The ball is just not going in. We have to just keep trying and not worrying, because the team did many things right today,” he added.

“I think that we deserved to win today clearly, but football is how it is, the team who scores the most goals is the one who wins and we did everything you need to do to score.

“Some very strange things happened as it sometimes does in football. We attacked a lot and very well, but we have to keep trying and nothing more. We have to change our dynamic and start winning games.” (Reporting by Richard Martin; editing by Martyn Herman)

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