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Lopetegui defiant despite thrashing by Barcelona

Lopetegui saw his Real side fail to win for the fifth straight La Liga match © AFP / Josep LAGO

BARCELONA, Spain, Oct 28 Julen Lopetegui wants to remain in charge of Real Madrid and believes he can turn their season around despite a 5-1 thrashing at the hands of Barcelona on Sunday.

Luis Suarez scored a hat-trick to leave Lopetegui’s future in serious doubt. After going more than eight hours without a goal earlier this month, Madrid have now managed just one win in six matches.

“I feel sad at the moment, (but) want fully to remain in charge,” Lopetegui said.

“This is a big blow but I am strong enough to know everything can be turned around. There is a long way to go and I have a lot of faith in this group of players.”

Philippe Coutinho opened the scoring at the Camp Nou while Arturo Vidal headed in a fifth to cap a late flurry of three goals in 15 minutes.

Madrid had threatened a comeback when Marcelo made it 2-1 early in the second half but they were defensively frantic again while mistakes from Raphael Varane and Sergio Ramos proved costly.

Defeat means they stay ninth in La Liga, seven points behind Barcelona, who return to the top of the table.

“We all know how the world of football works, and the final responsibility lies with the coach,” Lopetegui said.

“I am not stupid but here we win together and lose together. I still believe we are at an early stage of the season and Madrid this year will celebrate.

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“It is hard, a defeat is always hard, even more at Barcelona. We have the feeling that we could have turned the game around, we had chances to equalise, and go on and win.”

Ernesto Valverde was under pressure too last month but as Madrid’s dip has deepened, Barca have found their rhythm.

They have now taken 13 points from a possible 15 across the league and Champions League, through a difficult run of opponents.

“I’m very happy because we know the talent our opponent has,” Valverde said. “We can enjoy it now but if it helps us win the league, I will enjoy it even more.”

On Suarez, Valverde added: “It seems normal to me. Last year, people were saying he didn’t score enough but I know the work he puts in and he gets the rewards that he deserves.”

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