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Men's Football Real Madrid coach backs himself to keep his job

UNDER-FIRE Real Madrid coach Julen Lopetegui is adamant he will be in charge of tonight’s Champions League clash with Viktoria Plzen.

Reports suggested the former Spain manager was about to lose his job after an embarrassing 2-1 home loss to Levante at the weekend made it four defeats from five in all competitions and left them seventh in LaLiga.

Real resume their Champions League campaign, where they lost to CSKA Moscow last time out, against the Czech outfit and Lopetegui is insistent he will still be in a job.

He told a press conference: “I am looking at the situation the same as ever, I am carrying out my day-to-day as usual and that is what is under our control.

“If you want to see a dejected coach, then don’t look here.

“In my view we have a game that we are looking forward to and we will go about it with total commitment and drive.

“I am not thinking about anything else other than tomorrow’s game.”

Speculation is rife that the Group G clash could be his last game in charge, but, even if they do win, it seems unlikely he would survive a defeat in Saturday’s El Clasico against Barcelona.

“It has been assumed as done and dusted from what I have read, but what I have done is analyse and prepare for the rival. I am not thinking of anything else which is my responsibility,” Lopetegui added.

“I am here right now, I cannot confirm anything else right now. I will be the coach tomorrow.”

Midfielder Isco is firmly behind his manager and says the players must take responsibility for the reigning European champions’ slump.

He said: “I think it would be crazy [to sack him], you have to let him work.

“He has only been here for two months. If you get rid of the coach, you have to get rid of all of us.

“It is us that haven’t been scoring goals or playing well. It belongs to all of us, not just the coach.

“The responsibility is on everyone not just the coach. It’s the players that don’t score the goals.

“We know better than anyone what the atmosphere is in the changing room.

“It’s calm. We’re confident we can turn things around.”

Real are third in the group, a point behind leaders CSKA, who play Roma.

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