Lopetegui wants to make Madrid even better as Vinicius earns praise

Teenage debutant Vinicius Junior was praised by Julen Lopetegui following Real Madrid's 2-1 defeat to Manchester United.

Real Madrid teenager Vinicius Junior   -  Getty Images

Real Madrid head coach Julen Lopetegui was pleased with Vinicius Junior's debut as the teenage sensation dazzled in Tuesday's loss to Manchester United.

Madrid's era without all-time leading scorer Cristiano Ronaldo and head coach Zinedine Zidane started in Miami, where new boss Lopetegui oversaw a 2-1 defeat to United at the International Champions Cup.

Kicking off its pre-season, Madrid was lethargic early and conceded two goals before Karim Benzema reduced the deficit on the stroke of half-time as the Champions League holder dominated the second period.

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Madrid was unable to find the equaliser, but there were plenty of positives, including the performance of 18-year-old Brazilian Vinicius, who showed glimpses of his potential after arriving from Flamengo in a €45million deal.

"He played a good game. He has gone from less to more, just like the rest of the team. He started a little shy, but then he came on in leaps and bounds," Lopetegui said afterwards.

"He is very young and has to adapt to this style of football and what we ask of players. I thought he played a good game."

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Madrid has won three successive Champions League titles, but former Spain boss Lopetegui has high hopes at the Santiago Bernabeu as he attempts to build his new side around Gareth Bale following Ronaldo's move to Juventus.

Lopetegui continued: "I am delighted with the team I have here. We have the challenge of reinventing the team without a player such as Cristiano Ronaldo. I want to make this team even better than before."

"We have a squad chock full of excellent players, including Bale, and we want to have a good, united side. The team had character and showed positives. There were no injuries and in general the team had an acceptable game. There were things that made us happy and we move on," he said.

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"We all want to win all the time, but the key thing was not the result. In this preparation phase, we want to consolidate concepts. For them, it was their fifth game and for us just our first. We handled the game well, they had two good shots on goal."

There was also a debut for 22-year-old Spain international right-back Alvaro Odriozola, who completed a reported €40m transfer from LaLiga rival Real Sociedad in July.

"It was an unforgettable night for me. It's something I won't ever forget: debuting with Real Madrid is a tremendous source of pride. The boss told me to keep doing what I've been doing so far and to play with complete confidence. With players like Karim, Bale ... everything is much easier, it's a true pleasure to play alongside them," Odriozola said.

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