Players want Solari to coach for the season

PLZEN • Santiago Solari should be given a chance to keep his job at least until the end of the season, several of his players have said.

The Real Madrid interim coach gave all the credit to his players after they took a huge step towards clinching a spot in the Champions League knockout stages on Wednesday with a 5-0 rout of Viktoria Plzen.

But midfielder Casemiro and striker Karim Benzema, in particular, were instead full of praise for the Argentinian.

"We've scored five times and this result will give us confidence," Casemiro said. "People can talk about whether someone else is coming or not, but if things are going well, why not give him a chance?"

Benzema added that the players are all behind Solari, despite the coach being put in charge on just a temporary basis.

"Why not?" the Frenchman said, when asked if Solari could be in the job longer than expected.

"We are doing well with him, he should stay until the end of the season. He is a great coach. We are playing with more confidence."

In his first Champions League game in charge since taking over from the sacked Julen Lopetegui last month, Solari's men began slowly but were out of sight before half-time after a clinical masterclass of finishing.

Benzema (two goals), Casemiro and Gareth Bale all scored before the interval, before Toni Kroos added a fifth in the 67th minute.

"It's impossible to win 5-0 away in the Champions League and not play a great game. I'm very happy but this was all about the players - we have some brilliant players here who have no limits," Solari said.

According to statistics compiled by Opta, the Argentinian is only the second Real coach to win his first three games without conceding a goal since Luis Carniglia in 1957.

Before Wednesday, Solari led Real to a 4-0 win over Melilla in the Copa del Rey and a 2-0 victory over Valladolid in LaLiga.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 09, 2018, with the headline 'Players want Solari to coach for the season'. Print Edition | Subscribe