Lopetegui ‘more motivated than ever’ as pressure builds on under-fire Real boss

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Real Madrid boss Julen Lopetegui stressed the last thing he was thinking about was whether his job was under threat after his side were beaten 2-1 at home by Levante, their third successive defeat in all competitions.

Jose Luis Morales’ strike and a Roger Marti penalty put Levante 2-0 up inside the opening quarter of the LaLiga contest at the Bernabeu.

Marcelo pulled a goal back in the 72nd minute – after Real had earlier in the second half surpassed their previous highest benchmark of 465 minutes without scoring.

The drought ended at 481 minutes – the European champions went into the match having not registered a goal in the four games since last month’s 1-0 win over Espanyol, secured by Marco Asensio’s 41st-minute effort.

They have lost four out of five in the winless streak and Lopetegui, who replaced Zinedine Zidane in the summer, appears a man under considerable pressure ahead of next weekend’s El Clasico at Barcelona, before which Real host Viktoria Plzen in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Lopetegui was quoted on Real’s official website as saying when asked if his position was in danger: “I’m more motivated than ever. The last thing I’m thinking about is that.

“I worry about quickly picking up the boys and keep believing because it’s the only way to change this run. We have to prepare ourselves for the next game.”

Real hit the woodwork three times and were denied by some fine saves by Oier Olazabal. They also had two goals disallowed, while Levante had one.

Lopetegui added: “Football matches are won by scoring goals and not according to who deserves to win.

“We had 34 or 35 shots on goals, 14 or 15 of which were on target. We had goals ruled out, hit the woodwork three times… We attacked a lot and looked dangerous. The stats aren’t worth much at all, what counts are the goals.

“We did enough to have won the game and comfortably so, but that’s the way things go in football and it’ll have to repay us for what it’s not rewarding us for at the moment.

“The players had to rediscover their composure and in the end, we only converted one of our chances. We’ve got to change the dynamic by getting things right and winning games of football.

“I believe more than ever in this squad after seeing how they responded to adversity. Sooner or later, we’re going to turn this situation around.

“The dressing room is down because football has treated us very unfairly and they’re keen for revenge. After an undeserved home defeat we want to pick ourselves up and win our next game.

“The team are going to give everything in every game and we’re sure that we will turn it around.”

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