Real Madrid fullback Dani Carvajal: Lopetegui best coach I've had

Dani Carvajal and Julen Lopetegui

Dani Carvajal and Julen Lopetegui

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.

He added in an interview with TVE: "We're not going through a good moment, that's clear, but we also struggled at the start of previous year and ended up winning a third successive Champions League, which is something historic".

After a fine individual performance against Viktoria Plzen, which included his 200th goal for Real Madrid, Karim Benzema had a message for all those who criticise him.

"We've done a lot of things well [in his three matches], but above all I see the seriousness and the desire to score". We came into the game fully focused and it showed. "Football is about the present and it's the next game that matters", he said, with a trip to Celta Vigo on Sunday next up for Real. After that match, he must either be confirmed as Lopetegui's replacement until the end of the season at least or return to coaching Madrid's Castilla youth team.

"I only think about the next game".

More shoddy defending from Plzen enabled Casemiro to glance Kroos' corner home, before Benzema took his tally for Madrid to 201 by nodding Bale's cushioned header past Hruska.

"He is a great coach, we now have more confidence and we are going to compete".

Plzen, the reigning Czech champions, had two attempts on goal from long range in the second half, but Jan Kopic saw his effort stopped by Courtois and Patrik Hrosovsky, who scored for Plzen in their 2-1 loss in Madrid in October, fired wide.

"You must not know Real Madrid", Solari responded. "We are in permanent crisis even though we won the Champions Leagie".

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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