Veterans Bale, Ramos struggle while youngsters Reguilon, Vinicius impress vs. Valladolid
Santiago Solari's first league game as interim Real Madrid manager was not that different from the end of predecessor Julen Lopetegui's sorry spell in charge -- but this time fortune was on Los Blancos' side as a late Kiko own goal and a Sergio Ramos penalty brought a 2-0 win.
Twenty-one-year-old left-back Sergio Reguilon was very impressive and 18-year-old starlet Vinicius Junior made a big, if fortunate, impact off the bench. But most importantly, luck which deserted previous coach Lopetegui swung Real Madrid's way with Valladolid twice denied a deserved lead goal by the crossbar, and very unfortunate with both goals conceded.
Sluggish play now familiar from Madrid's horrorshow season so far brought increasingly loud whistles from understandably disgruntled fans, with all of Madrid's senior players again looking way, way below their best.
Manager rating out of 10
6 -- A cautious XI full of the same players who underperformed so badly under Lopetegui looked a missed opportunity to shake things up. Solari did get a fortunate reward for throwing on teenager Vinicius Junior late on and good fortune is among the most useful things any coach can have.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Thibaut Courtois, 8 -- Much busier than he would have expected, with two excellent saves after the break, tipping a deflected Ruben Alcaraz 20-yarder onto the crossbar and getting down well to deny Toni Villa's low strike from closer range.
DF Alvaro Odriozola, 6 -- Injected some pace into the attack with driving runs into the box going forward, but the space behind him was targeted by Valladolid on the counter
DF Nacho Fernandez, 5 -- Valladolid's best chances came on his side of the defence, and he is suffering from a general lack of solidness throughout the Madrid side.
DF Sergio Ramos, 5 -- The Madrid captain, whistled by his own fans in opening minutes, was caught badly out of position by a Valladolid break leading to a Leo Suarez chance in the second half. Did not look too worried as he cheekily chipped in a late penalty to seal the victory.
DF Sergio Reguilon, 8 -- The La Liga debutant was very prominent in attack during Madrid's early positive moments, with a couple of excellent whipped crosses which should have brought about better finishes.
MF Casemiro, 5 -- Three times came close with headers from set pieces, and tested Jordi Masip from 20 yards. Not as prominent when Valladolid broke through his zone in midfield regularly and was first player replaced.
MF Luka Modric, 5 -- Caught in possession a few times early, and really struggled with defensive duties after Casemiro was replaced. Looks in serious need of some bench time to recharge his batteries.
MF Toni Kroos, 5 -- Another still lacking in sharpness and energy, the German was guilty of moving the ball too slowly and too laterally. Also was unable to stop Valladolid from regularly countering through the centre.
FW Gareth Bale, 5 -- Did not worry Valladolid goalkeeper Masip with two first-half headers, and took the brunt of the home crowd's frustration via loud whistles as he was substituted at 0-0 with 20 minutes remaining. The idea that the Welshman would step up with Cristiano Ronaldo now gone has yet to come to pass.
FW Karim Benzema, 5 -- Missed Madrid's best two chances in the bright opening stages. Was another who contributed very little when the score was at 0-0, and went down very easily for the late penalty.
FW Marco Asensio, 6 -- One of Madrid's best performers among the kids in the Copa del Rey midweek, he was less prominent among the senior stars. Also struggling to move forward and fill Ronaldo's shoes.
MF Isco, 6 -- Replaced Casemiro and went into a floating No. 10 role, but made little impact on the play.
MF Lucas Vazquez, N/R -- Mostly noticeable as the player who made way for Bale.
MF Vinicius Junior, 7 -- The 18-year-old entered as a late substitute to big cheers from the Bernabeu, and then showed ambition and positivity with the run and shot which helped break the deadlock.