Real Madrid coach Julen Lopetegui batted away talk about the club’s possible transfer targets ahead of his side’s first La Liga game of the season against Getafe on Sunday, insisting he is happy with the squad he has.
“Right now we’re focusing on getting the best out of the squad we have which is a squad we love, we have a lot of talent and we’re going to work with it,” Lopetegui told a news conference on Saturday.
“We like the players we have and I have no doubts about the squad I have. Our players have a fantastic attitude, and people are going to see a Madrid side with a lot of talent. The important players are the ones that are here, not the ones that are not.”
Madrid have yet to sign a replacement for all-time top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo after selling him to Juventus for 105 million euros ($120.1 million). Their only new arrivals so far have been right back Alvaro Odriozola, goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and 18-year-old Brazilian forward Vinicius Jr.
Important back up players Theo Hernandez and Mateo Kovacic meanwhile have been loaned out to Real Sociedad and Chelsea respectively.
Lopetegui, however, said the main thing on his mind was getting off to a strong start in the league as Madrid look to compensate for their woeful last campaign, when they finished 17 points behind champions Barcelona and below Atletico Madrid.
Madrid have already started the season on the backfoot by losing 4-2 to Atletico in the UEFA Super Cup on Wednesday.
“We have to focus on our games right now because the three points tomorrow are worth the same as all the other games, so we have to realise the season is starting now,” added the former Spain coach, who faces a daunting task following Zinedine Zidane’s trophy-laden two-and-a-half-year tenure.
“I’m really impressed with the enthusiasm the players have to revindicate themselves and with the talent they have.
“We want to win this league title, it’s the competition which examines your work every day. My biggest concern is to make sure we are capable of competing.”
($1 = 0.8744 euros) (Reuters)