By Paul Giblin
MADRID, March 11 (Xinhua) — Even though Real Madrid returned to winning ways on Sunday, coach Santiago Solari could still lose his job in the coming days or hours after the Spanish press confirm the club will hold a meeting this Monday to decide his future.
Sunday’s win against a side battling to avoid relegation ended a disastrous run of results which began with a home defeat to Girona and continued with two losses in the Santiago Bernabeu against FC Barcelona and ended with their Champions League humiliation against Ajax last Tuesday.
Karim Benzema scored twice in Sunday’s win, but the result did little to undo the damage that has been done over the past fortnight or to paper over the cracks in Solari’s relationship with some of the players.
Despite Vinicius Jr, Lucas Vazquez, Gareth Bale, Dani Carvajal, Marcos Llorente or Sergio Ramos in Valladolid, there was still no place in the squad for Isco, after Solari not only left him out of the squad, but asked the club to open disciplinary proceedings against the Spanish international.
Isco, whose relationship with Solari is virtually non-existent, had apparently refused to travel in the team bus to the Santiago Bernabeu for Tuesday’s defeat after Solari left him out of the squad to face Ajax.
Even after Sunday’s win there was a division of opinion even among the players over the future of the coach.
Speaking to the press, Benzema was loyal to the man who replaced Julen Lopetegui at the start of November.
“I hope so,” he replaced when asked whether Solari should continue until the end of the season, adding, “but it is a question for the club. Of course the players want him to continue; I want him to and we are behind him.”
“I see the players united, because if we weren’t we couldn’t have played as we did today,” added the striker.
Central defender Nacho Fernandez was left forthcoming in his support of the coach, however, commenting; “it’s a difficult situation for everyone. It’s not an ideal situation. The relationship is complicated in the sense that things are not working,” he commented.