Coaching change good for Real Madrid after hitting rock bottom – Ceballos

The Blancos decided to part with Julen Lopetegui following a crushing Clasico defeat to Barcelona, with the reins passed to caretaker Santiago Solari

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Real Madrid’s decision to trade Julen Lopetegui for Santiago Solari in the dugout has been “good”, says Dani Ceballos, with Los Blancos having hit “rock bottom” at the start of the campaign.

Pressure built on those at the Santiago Bernabeu during the opening weeks of the season as a team which saw talismanic figures such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane depart over the summer stumbled out of the blocks.

It was quickly determined that Lopetegui was not the man to guide the club forward, with his forgettable reign brought to a swift conclusion following a crushing 5-1 Clasico defeat to arch-rivals Barcelona.

A managerial change, which has seen youth coach and former player Solari promoted to the first-team fold, has brought about a reversal in fortune, with Ceballos one of those to have benefited during a run of three successive victories.

He told Cadena Ser after figuring in a 5-0 Champions League win over Viktoria Plzen: “I didn’t expect Lopetegui to leave me out of the squad against Plzen [on October 23].

“I talked to him, but it was his decision. Lopetegui had a lot of faith in me and he gave me minutes after not playing much, but I think the change of coach has been good for us because we’ve put three wins together and I think that’s very important.

“Solari’s been very clear with me since our first encounter. We have a big squad and we all have to give something.

“After the game against Barca, we hit rock bottom and I think the change has been good for us. Mentally we were in a very bad way, but Solari has managed to turn things around.

“We’re very happy with Solari. He’s brought in some very good dynamics, but we don’t make these decisions. They’re made above us.

“Is our physical preparation better with [Antonio] Pintus? For me, that’s silly talk. Three weeks is too soon, but the team are fine physically.”

Real have one more outing to take in before the next international break, with that contest set to see them travel to Celta Vigo on Sunday.

Victory in that fixture could lift them back into La Liga’s top five, with their early struggles in 2018-19 having left them well off the pace and seven points adrift of leaders Barcelona.