Real in­terim coach chooses to fo­cus on job at hand than his pro­mo­tion

So­lari faces tough test at Celta Vigo

Sowetan - - Dipapadi -

Madrid – Real Madrid in­terim coach San­ti­ago So­lari will be hop­ing to fur­ther boost his chances of se­cur­ing the job on a full-time ba­sis by suc­cess­fully ne­go­ti­at­ing a tricky trip to Celta Vigo in La Liga on Sun­day.

The visit to the Es­ta­dio Mu­nic­i­pal de Balaí­dos rep­re­sents the sternest test of So­lari’s brief reign so far, with the Ar­gen­tine for­mer mid­fielder hav­ing won all three games since tak­ing over from the sacked Julen Lopetegui.

Real, sixth in the ta­ble and seven points be­hind lead­ers Barca, have strug­gled at the Gali­cian side’s in­tim­i­dat­ing sta­dium in the past, though, and could only muster a 2-2 draw at the venue last sea­son.

Lo­cal me­dia re­ports sug­gest a vic­tory would com­plete an im­pres­sive au­di­tion for the role with a pro­mo­tion, but So­lari in­sists that he is fo­cused on three points rather than his fu­ture.

“I’m just think­ing about the next game de­spite ev­ery­thing,” he said.

“I can only look to the next link in the chain, and the most im­por­tant game is al­ways the next one. We are fo­cus­ing all our ef­forts on this week­end’s match. “I know it’s a cliché, but foot­ball is about the here and now, and it’s not a bad phi­los­o­phy to go by.”

Else­where on Sun­day, table­top­pers Barcelona host Real Betis as they look to main­tain the pace in their ti­tle de­fence, but it re­mains to be seen whether the Cata­lans will have Lionel Messi back from in­jury for the match.

“He is train­ing, but it’s not the same as play­ing in a toplevel game with col­li­sions and in­ten­sity, so we don’t want to take any risks with him,” coach Ernesto Valverde said.

“The ob­jec­tive is al­ways to get three points.”

It is also shap­ing up to be an in­ter­est­ing week­end for the chas­ing pack, with only one point sep­a­rat­ing the sides from sec­ond to fifth place, start­ing to­mor­row evening when fourth-placed Atletico host strug­gling Ath­letic Bil­bao. – Reuters

/AN­GEL MARTINEZ/ GETTY IMAGES

Coach San­ti­ago So­lari of Real Madrid.

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