Santiago Solari proved the perfect caretaker but his debut as permanent coach of Real Madrid on Saturday ended in a disastrous 3-0 defeat at Eibar.
Four wins while in temporary charge earned Solari a contract until 2021 over the international break, only for Real to revert to the kind of chaotic display that cost Julen Lopetegui the sack.
This defeat also brought into focus the mindset of Madrid’s players, after their captain Sergio Ramos faced allegations of an anti-doping violation on Friday night from German magazine Der Spiegel. The club denied any breach.
Eibar were stronger, more aggressive and, worryingly for Solari, appeared clearer about the plan they wanted to execute. Marc Cucurella, brilliant down the left, was instrumental in all three goals, scored by Gonzalo Escalante, Sergi Enrich and Kike Garcia.
Real’s loss halts their revival under Solari and denies them a golden opportunity to make up ground on Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, who face each other at the Wanda Metropolitano later on Saturday.
“It is not about finding people to blame,” Solari said afterwards. “Everything is fixable. We had won four straight games, done some things very well, and we have to get back to that.”
Defender Raphael Varane added: “We were not well-organised, we were not comfortable and we did not find any answers.”
Eibar, meanwhile, shoot up to seventh, a reward for their first ever victory over Real Madrid at the 11th attempt, inside their tiny 7,083-capacity Ipurua.