Valladolid first of three tests for Real Madrid coach Solari

MADRID, Nov. 2 (Xinhua) — Real Madrid’s temporary head coach Santiago Solari could take a big step towards getting the job on a permanent basis if his side can beat Valladolid at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday.

Saturday’s game is the first of three tests for Solari before the next international break and a home win against Valladolid followed by two victories on the road against Viktoria Plzen and Celta Vigo would probably be enough to convince club President Florentino Perez to hand Solari the job, rather than go for a big-name replacement such as Antonio Conte.

Solari’s first game in charge after replacing the sacked Julen Lopetegui on Monday was a comfortable 4-0 win in the Copa del Rey away to Melilla.

While the result was only against a side in the third tier of the Spanish game, it has helped to restore some morale after the 5-1 battering at the hands of FC Barcelona last weekend which left Madrid ninth in the league table and led to Julen Lopetegui’s sacking.

One of the positives was the display of teenage winger Vinicius Jr, and Solari will have to decide whether the Brazilian, whom he knows well from Madrid’s B team, starts at the weekend.

In defense, Raphael Varane, Jesus Vallejo, Marcelo and Dani Carvajal are all injured, meaning Nacho will probably play at left back, while Sergio Reguilon or Javi Sanchez will partner Sergio Ramos in the center.

Casemiro, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos can expect to continue in midfield, while the main talking point is whether Vinicius or Isco get the nod to partner Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema in attack.

Valladolid should prove to be tough opposition for Solari’s league debut. The recently-promoted side, who are now owned by former Real Madrid striker Ronaldo Nazario, may have the lowest budget in the league, but have won four and drawn one of their last five games to climb up to sixth in the table.

Coach Sergio Gonzalez has formed a block with a team spirit and which has conceded just two goals in their last five league outings. Given that Madrid have scored just two in their last five league games, Solari is going to need Benzema, Bale and company to adjust their sights if he is to get the job full time.

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