Solari uncertain over Real Madrid future despite victory

VALLADOLID, Spain (AFP) – Real Madrid’s losing run is over but Santiago Solari offered no assurances over his future after a chaotic 4-1 victory over struggling Real Valladolid on Sunday night.

Asked afterwards if it could have been his final game as coach, Solari said, “I cannot answer that. Tomorrow we have a training session and that is what I focus on.”

Karim Benzema scored twice, including one from the penalty spot, between strikes from Raphael Varane and Luka Modric as Madrid came from behind at the Jose Zorrilla Stadium, after Anuar Tuhami had given Valladolid a deserved first-half lead.

They could have been four up had VAR not twice cancelled out goals from Sergi Guardiola, who later also hit the post, while Ruben Alcaraz blasted an early penalty over the crossbar.

It was a frantic opening half an hour to a frenzied night, which began with the lights going out after a power failure before kick-off and ended with Casemiro being sent off, only for Modric to add Madrid’s fourth.

Real Madrid coach Santiago Solari. – AFP

Real stay third in La Liga, 12 points adrift of Barcelona and five behind Atletico.

Valladolid were the opponents for Solari’s first league game in charge back in November when another rather flattering 2-0 victory set the team off on a run of eight wins from nine games.

But three consecutive defeats at home, to Barcelona twice and Ajax in the Champions League, meant any sense of success this time was muted.

“It has been a difficult week for everyone, for the players too,” Solari said.

“The first 20 minutes reflected that and it cost us, but the rest of the game they showed their professionalism, their spirit and how well they have reacted to adversity.”

The result was emphatic but, against a Valladolid side that had scored only once in their last five games, the performance less convincing, with Club President Florentino Perez watching on in the stands.

“It is difficult for everyone,” said Real defender Nacho. “The relationship (with Solari) right now is complicated because things are not working out.”

Solari’s tenure will almost certainly end in the summer and perhaps sooner, if either results take another turn for the worse or a suitable replacement can be found. Jose Mourinho and Zinedine Zidane were both linked with returns last week.