Real Madrid manager Santiago Solari brushes off Clásico losses, looks to Ajax match

, SPAIN - MARCH 4: coach Santiago Solari of Real Madrid during the Training Real Madrid on March 4, 2019 (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)
, SPAIN - MARCH 4: coach Santiago Solari of Real Madrid during the Training Real Madrid on March 4, 2019 (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images) /

Real Madrid is coming off of two consecutive losses no one who is a fan of the club wants to talk about. Manager Santiago Solari said in his press conference Monday ahead of the Champions League round of 16 second leg against Ajax that his team is not thinking about the two defeats to FC Barcelona, rather, they are focused on defending their title.

“The team has a lot of character and I’m very proud of them. Tomorrow it’s the Champions League and we’ll be there,” Solari told the large crowd of media members gathered at the Ciudad de Real Madrid.

After failing to score in back-to-back matches against Barca, Los Blancos will really have to show that character when they host Ajax. Holding a 2-1 aggregate lead and playing in front of the Madridistas gives hints that Real will advance to the quarterfinals.

However, the absence of Sergio Ramos due to suspension and an inability to find the back of the net in the last couple of matches. Ajax showed that they could hang with the 13-time European cup winners in mid-February and they will surely be ready for the bright lights in the Spanish capital.

Solari addressed the issue in front of goal today, saying, “It’s a mixture of things. We have to be more clinical, have more presence. It’s part of our job and we must try to improve it. Luck is a component and it exists. We have had a lot of chances in the last matches and we have to put them away as we have done in other matches.”

Although it was not addressed throughout the presser, Solari has to be feeling an extraordinary amount of pressure going into this match after falling out of the Copa del Rey and likely falling too far behind in La Liga to win the title.

Ramos has been the leader for Real Madrid in the last three UCL campaigns and he will be dearly missed in a huge knockout stage match like this. I, for one, think Ramos’ two-match suspension is deserving after reviewing the first leg match in Amsterdam.

Solari will need to make sure Nacho Fernandez and Raphael Varane are on the same page in this match as they will face a very capable attacking line from Ajax.

The swagger that usually comes with a Real Madrid team is noticably absent. Solari, as the manager, has to be a strong leader in training and provide his players with some optimism.

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My biggest fear coming into this match is Solari not rotating the squad enough. Players like Karim Benzema and Vinícius Júnior have been playing in every match in 2019 and could be growing tired. This squad still has some incredible depth that the boss should look to utilize.

Santiago Solari is fighting for his job at this point. If he can’t make it past Ajax, Florentino Perez could send him packing as early as Wednesday.

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