Real Madrid manager Julen Lopetegui has come out fighting after suggestions that he is on the brink of being fired by the Champions League holders.
A shock defeat at home to Levante on the weekend put the former Spanish national team coach on the brink of losing his job after just nine league games in charge, but he told the press ahead of Real's Champions League fixture against Victoria Plzen that he is not a 'defeated coach' as he sets up for a game which could decide his future.
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"I am looking at the situation the same as ever, I am carrying out my day to day as usual and that is what is under our control," he said, quoted by the Mail. "If you want to see a defeated coach then don't look here.
"In my view, we have a game tomorrow and that we are looking forward to and we will go about it with total commitment and drive. I am not thinking about anything else other than tomorrow's game."
Antonio Conte has emerged as a favourite to replace Lopetegui should he be fired in the coming days or weeks, with an internal tag-team of Santiago Solari and Guti rivalling the former Chelsea manager for the position.
Reports over the weekend claimed that Lopetegui was unlikely to be in charge for the coming weekend's Clasico, but he insisted this week: "It has been assumed as done and dusted from what I have read but what I have done is analyse and prepare for the rival. I am not thinking of anything else, which is my responsibility.
I am here right now, I cannot confirm anything else right now. I will be the coach tomorrow."