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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 12 December 2018

Real Madrid must be more clinical warns Julen Lopetegui

Isco goal salvages a point in 1-1 draw with Athletic Bilbao as Real fail to win in La Liga for the first time this season

Real Madrid manager Julen Lopetegui was frustrated as he saw his side fail to win in the league for the first time since he took charge. AFP
Real Madrid manager Julen Lopetegui was frustrated as he saw his side fail to win in the league for the first time since he took charge. AFP

Real Madrid coach Julen Lopetegui conceded his side were "not clinical enough" after they lost their 100 per cent start to the new La Liga season in a 1-1 draw at Athletic Bilbao.

Real were up against it for much of the match on Saturday, with Iker Muniain sliding the home side in front in the 32nd minute at the San Mames before substitute Isco saved Real's blushes in the second half.

Real had a handful of chances to snatch the three points with Bilbao keeper Unai Simon making a series of good saves, but ultimately the hosts proved good value for their point.

Lopetegui said in quotes reported on the club's website: "We were not clinical enough in taking our chances in terms of the game they wanted to play.

"All we were lacking was that final goal. We created a lot of chances and had double the amount of attempts as the opposition.

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"We made several changes and we were gradually able to get up to the pace they demand of you. We were the better side in the second half, we got the goal and we could have scored more."

Meanwhile the high-profile departure of Cristiano Ronaldo has heaped more spotlight on Real's remaining stars and Lopetegui believes Luka Modric will soon be back at his best.

The Croatian is currently readjusting to life in the domestic league after his busy summer, which included leading his country all the way to the World Cup final.

Lopetegui said: "Luka had a tough summer for a number of reasons. He has now had some game time and some training sessions and he's back with us and ready to have a great season."

Bilbao coach Eduardo Berizzo hailed his side's workrate and challenged them to maintain the same drive and intensity in their future LaLiga matches.

Berizzo said: "If we have been able to play like this against Madrid today, then we have to play like this always.

"Our way of playing is demanding. We're going to need the whole team. Everyone can be chosen at any time and they have to be prepared."