Former Real Madrid coach Julen Lopetegui admits that he was disappointed by the rapid end to his tenure at Santiago Bernabeu, affirming that he believes he could have turned things around given more time.
Lopetegui caused a stir last summer when he took the Madrid job while preparing for Spain’s World Cup challenge in Russia.
That decision led him to be sacked from the Roja post just days before the tournament kicked off, while his time with the Merengue also proved short-lived.
A string of poor results culminating in a 5-1 Clasico thrashing at the hands of Barcelona saw him dismissed after just 10 Liga games at the end of October, with Santiago Solari faring little better as his replacement before the club turned back to three-time Champions League winner Zinedine Zidane.
And the coach blames a sudden slump in results and some sloppy finishing for putting an end to his brief time in charge.
“We had a great start and played some great games,” he explained to The Coaches’ Voice.
“But then we had three weeks of rotten luck in front of goal in games in which we were better. These things can happen to every team.
“We thought that there was still time and we had something that was crucial: absolute commitment from the players and from a team that had a great deal to give.”
Following Lopetegui’s removal from the Spain team, interim coach Fernando Hierro oversaw a disappointing World Cup that ended with penalty shoot-out defeat to hosts Russia in the last 16.
But he pointed to the results achieved under his tutelage to suggest that the Roja would have fared better had he remained in charge until the end of the tournament.
“We had gone two years without losing and played against Germany, France, Belgium, England, Italy,” he recalled.
“We dominated all of those games. Then, we don’t know what would have happened in the World Cup, but we were ready, we had big hopes and the players felt it and made us know it.”