Lopetegui positive despite Atleti stalemate

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Julen Lopetegui vowed to remain positive despite seeing his side held to a goalless draw by rivals Atletico Madrid at the Bernabeu on Saturday evening.

Madrid had the chance to go top of the table following Barcelona’s 1-1 draw with Athletic Bilbao earlier in the day, but couldn’t manage to find a goal.

Thibaut Courtois and Jan Oblak made crucial saves as the La Liga rivals had to settle for a point each.

“We didn’t win the game simply because we didn’t manage to score, but overall, I think that we were by far the better side, particularly in the second half, in which we created several chances,” Lopetegui said after the game.

“After the break, we managed to push Atletico back into their own half, overcame adversity and delivered a good performance. However, if you don’t score, you don’t win football matches.

“I take some big positives from tonight’s game. When faced with difficulty, the team stood tall and improved, having had a day’s less rest (to prepare) and with some absentees, and showed character and personality.

“We played well, but failed to get the goal to make our dominance tell.

“The goals will come. We’ve had chances and they will come.”

Asked about the fitness of Gareth Bale, who was taken off at the break, Lopetegui replied: “Bale had discomfort in his adductor at half-time and as a precaution he didn’t come out for the second half. We will test him tomorrow and we’ll see.

“Isco had appendicitis, which is a shame, and we hope that Marcelo is back in a few weeks.

“It’s not good that we’ve got injuries and we will look for solutions.”