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I'm confident in Isco, Real Madrid despite draw - Julen Lopetegui

Alexis Nunes and Shaka Hislop weigh Real Madrid's chances of catching Barcelona in the La Liga title-race, after Los Blancos' 1-1 draw at Athletic Bilbao.
Athletic keeper Unai Simón staved off Real Madrid's attempts to net a winner, helping his side see out a closely-contested 1-1 draw.

Real Madrid manager Julen Lopetegui said he still has plenty of confidence in his squad but was disappointed in only getting a 1-1 draw at Athletic Bilbao. 

"A draw for Real Madrid is never good," he said after the match. "We came for three points and we didn't get them."

Iker Muniain took the lead for Athletic Bilbao at the new San Mames on Saturday night before substitute Isco headed home in the second half to level matters.

Isco came on for Luka Modric in the 61st minute and gave Madrid a spark going forward. Asked after the game if he had lost confidence in Saturday's goalscorer, Lopetegui says nothing has changed about how he sees the creative midfielder.

"I don't see a drop in his standard. I have plenty of confidence in Isco," he said. "And the rest of the squad, that has not changed."

Real Madrid were under pressure in the first half and could not escape Athletic Bilbao's suffocating pressure at times. Lopetegui says they tried to fix that issue in the second half.

"We were too hurried, in the second half we corrected that," he said. "We were more calm, we were more in control and we had better chances.

"We generated a lot of chances," he continued when speaking about potential problems in their approach. "In the first half, we entered into their dynamic, but in the second half we were better and we could have scored more than one goal. In the second half, we were much better."

Real Madrid signed Mariano Diaz in the summer in order to score goals in the penalty area and to break open tight games. He did not come off the bench and Lopetegui explained his decision.

"Mariano could have been an option but we knew we needed energy on the wing," Lopetegui said. "That's why we brought on Lucas Vazquez."

Real Madrid were missing the bulk of their squad during the international break and Lopetegui was asked if it makes planning more complicated.

"When there is an international break you have to have an idea," he said. "But after you have to analyse when they come back."

On why Modric was substituted out, Lopetegui said the Croatian is still getting back up to speed.

"Luka had a very complicated summer for many reasons," he said. "He is ready for a good season and I have no doubt about that, despite all of the circumstances that surrounded him this summer."

Lopetegui's captain, Sergio Ramos, agreed with his manager's assessment of the result. 

"A draw is never good," Sergio Ramos told Movistar after the match. "When you try to get three points and end up with one, there are things to improve on."

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