Losing your first game as a manager of a club like Real Madrid may not be the ideal start. However, Julen Lopetegui has decided to dwell on the positives of their 2-1 defeat to Manchester United.
Lopetegui, 51, fielded a mixed line-up in his first game in Miami on Wednesday morning with Karim Benzema being the only starter on the pitch that began in May’s Champions League final win over Liverpool.
The French striker’s first-half injury time goal couldn’t prevent the European Champions from losing as goals from Alexis Sanchez, and Ander Herrera gave United an early 2-0 lead.
The only other notable chance Real had was when Gareth Bale, who also started, saw his curling shot go wide.
“The team had character and showed positives,” said Lopetegui on the club website.
“There were no injuries, and in general the team had an acceptable game. There were things that made us happy, and we move on”.
While the result was far from ideal, Lopetegui pointed out that the Red Devils were in better physical shape for the encounter after having already played four times.
“We all want to win all the time, but the key thing was not the result. In this preparation phase, we want to consolidate concepts. For them, it was their fifth game and for us just our first. We handled the game well, they had two good shots on goal,” said the 51-year-old.
The former Porto and Spain boss has been handed a massive challenge in ensuring that Real can maintain their usual high standard without star player Cristiano Ronaldo anymore.
“I am delighted with the team I have here. We have the challenge of reinventing the team without a player such as Cristiano Ronaldo. I want to make this team even better than before,” said Lopetegui.
“We have a squad chock full of excellent players, including Bale, and we want to have a good, united side.”
Real will now face Juventus on Sunday at the FedExField in Maryland, although they will not be facing Ronaldo because he has only just begun pre-season training in Turin with his fellow World Cup teammates.