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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 27 March 2019

Real Madrid manager Santiago Solari: Some players have not delivered this season

Argentine turned up an hour late for news conference to speak about Sunday's game against Valladolid

Real Madrid manager Santiago Solari, attends a press conference after the team's training session at Valdebebas sports city in Madrid. EPA
Real Madrid manager Santiago Solari, attends a press conference after the team's training session at Valdebebas sports city in Madrid. EPA

Real Madrid manager Santiago Solari says he has let some of his players know in no uncertain terms that they have not played to the required standard this season.

It has been a harrowing week for the Spanish giants after they surrendered their iron grip on the Champions League trophy they have made their own the past three seasons. A 4-1 defeat at the Bernabeu to Ajax on Tuesday saw them exit at the last-16 stage 5-3 on aggregate.

That followed the ignominy of consecutive defeat to bitter rivals Barcelona in the Copa del Rey semi-finals and La Liga that means Madrid are almost certain to miss out winning a domestic or European trophy for the first time since 2015.

Solari showed up more than an hour late for his news conference ahead of Sunday's La Liga game away to Real Valladolid. Real are third in the league standings, 12 points behind leaders Barcelona and five back from second-placed Atletico Madrid, but are practically assured of finishing in the top four.

"The majority have delivered as expected, some have not, and I have told them so personally," Solari told reporters on Saturday, after apologising for his late showing.

Solari took charge of Real on a temporary basis at the end of October when Julen Lopetegui was sacked and was then handed a contract until 2021.

According to reports in the Spanish media, the Argentine will be sacked next week with former Madrid manager Jose Mourinho widely touted as the man to replace him.

Solari would not comment on whether his job was in danger, but he made it clear that no manager can expect to stay at the 13-times European champions for long.

"I cannot reveal what has been said in private, but I will repeat what I said on my first day here, which is that everyone here is just passing through, and the only objective we work towards is the next game," he said.

"I'm always going to give the best of myself, as I have done since the first day I was here. It is an honour to coach Real Madrid."

Solari faces a selection crisis heading into the game against struggling Valladolid side 16th in the table and only three points above the relegation zone.

Forwards Lucas Vazquez, Vinicius Jr and Gareth Bale are all unavailable after sustaining injuries in Tuesday's defeat by Ajax.

Defender Dani Carvajal is also injured as is midfielder Marcos Llorente, while captain Sergio Ramos is suspended.

Updated: March 9, 2019 08:34 PM

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