Julen Lopetegui has said speculation over his future will not affect his team’s preparation for Sunday’s Clasico away at Barcelona.
“I expect to keep breathing whatever happens,” Lopetegui said. “I’m not going to die. I am 100 percent focused on helping my team for tomorrow, nothing more. So I will not dedicate even 0.1 percent of my energy to that question.
“Real Madrid is still alive. This is still October, we have done some good things, made a lot of chances, and we will try and improve and be more effective. We are ready to play a game of this size and these demands.”
Club captain Sergio Ramos, Marcelo and Toni Kroos have all publicly backed their coach in recent weeks, and Lopetegui said he did not think his players had anything else in mind at the moment but performing at their best in the Clasico.
“They trust in me, and I trust even more in them,” he said. “We are working well, working hard. And we want to bring some joy to our fans, and this is the perfect game for that. There is nothing like a Real Madrid vs. Barcelona.
“This game is sufficiently big, important and motivating for them not to be thinking about all these things that interest you [media]. We are focused on training well, preparing well, and being in the best condition possible tomorrow for the game. We know it will be difficult, but we are ready to play a great game.”
Marcelo has recovered from a knock picked up late against Plzen midweek, while Nacho Fernandez is likely to deputise for the injured Dani Carvajal on the other side of the defence.
Lionel Messi’s broken arm means a first La Liga Clasico in over a decade without either him or Cristiano Ronaldo.