Julen Lopetegui
First team


"They've shown that they're a good, competitive team"
Cuerpo Superior

Julen Lopetegui is not expecting an easy ride in the first match of the season against a fellow Andalusian side, newly-promoted UD Almería. 

The coach kicked off his pre-match press conference by highlighting the strength of tomorrow's opponents.

"The team are hopeful of getting that first win that we all want. We're going to a tough stadium and facing a team that have quality. We want to play well at a stadium where Real Madrid, champions of Spain and Europe, did not have things so easy a few days ago. That makes us ready and we want to compete and implement the plan we have."

"Almería have shown that they're a good, competitive side and they have the experience of all working together for a year. They have very good players in certain positions. I'm expecting a well-organised Almería side with physicality and pace, they made things difficult for Madrid and Elche."

"However, it's more important to focus on ourselves and it would be great to get the three points tomorrow."

Cuerpo Inferior

"Suso will be in the squad"

He also discussed the travelling squad for the clash.

"Suso will be in the squad because he has trained without any problems. We've had that unfortunate injury for Tecatito, which is a big loss, and also Marcão hasn't been able to make his debut. He came here with a little knock and we've not been able to sort it."

"We have to link all the pieces together to make a solid team and that can't be achieved in a day. The important players are the ones who are available and will help us find effective solutions."

"It's a tough group, but it's time to work hard"

Next up on the agenda was yesterday's UEFA Champions League Group Stage draw.

"It's the competition with the best teams in the world. It's a tough group, nobody is going to be celebrating qualification for the last 16 before any matches have been played. The most important thing is being in the draw for the third year in a row, as the President said."

"It's time to work hard to improve on that run and try to progress and improve on what we did last year. However, that will come later on and we'll approach it with lots of ambition and desire as we try to keep making history."

"We're trying to consolidate the team while the window is still open"

Lopetegui also discussed the support he has received from Club President José Castro.

"I'm taking it all naturally and focusing on what is under our control. We're trying to improve the team to face the magnificent challenges we have and to consolidate the team while the window is still open. Then we will try to grow and improve in all competitions, that's all we can do."

"The most difficult thing is always what you have left to do. What's done is done. We're sure that we'll make our fans very happy this year. The year's just begun and we're all excited. It's time for us to work and tomorrow we'll compete against a good team to get those three points."

To finish, the coach spoke briefly about his three previous seasons, and the team's pressing in matches.

"We performed well in 2019/20, 2020/21 and 2021/22, and we'll try to make 2022/23 a good season too."

"We always try to press high up, we do it 99% of the time, but of course our opponents try to play as well. But I think we're a team that doesn't just press high, we press very high up in every match."