MX23RW : Wednesday, December 12 14:54:42
Sep 22, 2018 at 7.45pm UK at ​Estadio Santiago Bernabeu
Attendance: 67,658
Real Madrid
1-0
Espanyol
Asensio (41')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Result: Lopetegui relieved with win after Real Madrid 'lacked energy' against Espanyol

Real were playing days after their Champions League win against Roma.

Real Madrid boss Julen Lopetegui admitted his players had looked tired during a 1-0 win over Espanyol which sent them top of LaLiga.

Marco Asensio scored the only goal four minutes before half-time, but Los Blancos' performance levels dropped after their midweek Champions League win against Roma.

"They are three important points from a complex and difficult match," Lopetegui was quoted in Marca.

Marco Asensio celebrates his winner
Marco Asensio celebrates his winner (Paul White/AP)

"We lacked energy in the second half and lost control. There was fatigue because we played two demanding games in three days."

Real spurned numerous other chances but struggled for fluency against dogged opponents, who struck the frame of the goal through Borja Iglesias in the second half.

"Espanyol played well and were organised, and we knew it would be difficult," said Lopetegui, who remains unbeaten in LaLiga since replacing Zinedine Zidane in the summer. "We made the Asensio goal profitable."

The former Porto and Spain head coach rested Gareth Bale, Dani Carvajal, Marcelo and Toni Kroos, with Alvaro Odriozola, Nacho and Dani Ceballos starting, while Thibaut Courtois replaced Keylor Navas in goal.

"The emergence of new players is positive, they have all played a full game, though Nacho's (yellow) card has affected him a lot," said Lopetegui.

Real's  £37.2million Brazilian summer signing Vinicius Junior was left out of the squad.

"We had to assess how everyone was doing and finally Valverde came in (instead of Vinicius)," Lopetegui added. "We'll see if he plays with (the second team) Castilla on Sunday."

Espanyol coach Rubi said he was pleased with his side's display, but was disappointed they left the Bernabeu without a point.

"It has merit to have caused Real Madrid problems. We bothered them and I think we have done a good job," Rubi said.

"We made it difficult for them to find spaces. It is very difficult to come here and make Real Madrid look uneasy.

"We have done a good job closing spaces, although in the first half they made us run a lot because we could not get the ball as much as we wanted."

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Marco Asensio celebrates after scoring the opening goal for Real Madrid in their La Liga meeting with Espanyol on September 22, 2018
Read Next:
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Barcelona1594241192231
2Sevilla1584327161128
3Atletico MadridAtletico1577121101128
4Real Madrid158252319426
5AlavesAlaves157351817124
6Levante156452725222
7Real Betis156451617-122
8Getafe155641612421
9GironaGirona155641717021
10Espanyol156361720-321
11Celta Vigo155552824420
12Real Valladolid155551315-220
13Real Sociedad155461818019
14EibarEibar155461923-419
15Valencia153931212018
16Leganes154561519-417
17Villarreal153571519-414
18Athletic Bilbao152851523-814
19Rayo Vallecano152491530-1510
20Huesca1514101230-187

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