Julen Lopetegui's job is hanging by a thread. The Real Madrid boss is being given until the end of the month to change the team's fortunes or be sacked.
Madrid have suffered a miserable start to the season, with only a point to show from their last three La Liga games. This spell also included a Champions League loss against CSKA Moscow, and now many people within the club are already seeking a change in manager.
According to a report in Marca, Lopetegui is facing a pivotal set of games in deciding his future at the club, with El Clásico looming large at the end of the month. A loss in that game could spell the end of his time at the Santiago Bernabeu, regardless of the results against Levante and Viktoria Plzen in the build-up.
The Spanish boss may have found himself under even more pressure were it not for Barcelona's equally disappointing start to the season. Real find themselves only one point behind Barca in the La Liga table.
For now, Lopetegui is not in danger.
But he is being questioned more and more...
And things must change quickly.
— MARCA in English (@MARCAinENGLISH) October 7, 2018
Lopetegui, of course, got the job in acrimonious circumstances this summer. He had been due to take charge of Spain in the World Cup, but the announcement that he was set to take the reins at Real Madrid just two days before the start of the competition enraged members of the Spanish Football Federation. They were not aware of the appointment and subsequently fired their manager on the eve of the tournament.
Real Madrid President Florentino Perez is known for his lack of patience with managers, and he has no problem making a change if he feels the high standards of the club are slipping.
He sacked Rafael Benitez in January of 2016 after only seven months in charge, with the club four points behind city rivals Atlético in the league table. Carlo Ancelotti was fired in May 2015, despite finishing only two points behind Barcelona in La Liga and leading the club to their first Champions League triumph in 12 years the season before.