Santiago Solari has his first-team coach contract until 2021 but now the hard work really starts.
There are two tough away games to come after the international break and then it’s into the Club World Cup, all with a lengthy injury list.
Sportsmail looks at what is in the new man’s in-tray as he begins the most precarious job in football.
Sportsmail has taken a look at Santiago Solari’s in-tray after he was given the permanent job
REAL MADRID’S NEXT FIVE FIXTURES
Nov 24: Eibar (away) – La Liga
Nov 27: Roma (away) – Champions League
Dec 1: Valencia (home) – La Liga
Dec 6: Melilla – Copa del Rey
Dec 9: Huesca – La Liga
What’s the absolute priority?
Getting everyone fit. That applies both to players overcoming their injuries, but also working on the sharpness of the squad. Isco has struggled to regain fitness since his appendix operation and players such as Luka Modric and Raphael Varane, who had long summers at the World Cup, have not reached 100 per cent.
Zinedine Zidane’s old fitness coach Antonio Pintus is back in charge of that side of training with Javier Mallo – another member of Zidane’s back room staff – taking care of player recuperation.
The plan is also to have a mini pre-season during the international break to get everyone up to speed but it will not be easy because so many players are away on international duty or out injured.
Fitness has been an issue for a number of Real’s best players, including midfielder Isco
Let’s go through the team in stages – the keepers?
He’s made Thibaut Courtois the undisputed number one in both major competitions. The Belgium keeper responded well at the weekend with some decent saves in the win over Celta Vigo. His distribution needs to be worked on however. He gave the ball away more than anyone else.
Solari has made goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois his undisputed No 1 since taking the Real job
How are the full-backs looking?
His greatest success so far has been the way the young full-backs Sergio Reguilon and Alvaro Odriozola have performed. Reguilon is now sidelined for three weeks with a hamstring injury but Marcelo should be back to replace him.
Marcelo will be a challenge for Solari. He was a team-mate of Roberto Carlos. He should know how to handle an attacking Brazilian full-back. Marcelo had been as atrocious defensively as he had been brilliant offensively before he got injured.
Solari is unlikely to want to curb Marcelo’s attacking enthusiasm but he needs to put mechanisms in place to make sure he stops costing the team goals.
Full-back Alvaro Odriozola is one of a number of youngsters that have performed for Solari
And the centre of defence?
Nacho is out until the new year so he will hope that Raphael Varane comes back unscathed from international duty to partner Sergio Ramos. He has thrown 21-year-old Javier Sanchez in and the B-team captain has done well.
In January, the club could sign a centre-back. They have a €7.5million (£6.5m) option on Espanyol’s Mario Hermoso. He has just been called up by Luis Enrique and would be the bargain of the winter window if they exercise the clause and recall their former youth teamer.
Either way, Solari needs to get to January first.
Solari will be hoping that Raphael Varane comes back from international duty unscathed
Is it the Modric, Casemiro, Kroos midfielder trio that Lopetegui used?
He prefers to play 4-2-3-1 but, yes, in two of his four games he has played 4-3-3. Casemiro is out four at least a month so it may be that Toni Kroos partners Luka Modric in a holding midfield pair.
The problem is that neither of them is too keen on holding.
And the attacking midfield – why were Isco and Asensio on the bench at the weekend?
Isco’s fitness seems to be a problem. For Marco Asensio form has been disappointing. In the three behind the striker he is currently favouring Lucas Vazquez on the right, Gareth Bale on the left and Dani Ceballos – who scored one of the best goals of the weekend – in the middle.
Vazquez and Ceballos will run for ever and if Solari continues to prioritize commitment they will stay in the team ahead of Isco and Asensio.
Gareth Bale is likely to be a key figure under Solari and has been playing on the left
He has taken an approach never really used before. He has gently called him out in public. He has not criticized him but he has given a prod in some of the press conferences. He wants him to leave his mark on games. He wants him, dare we say it, to be a bit more like Ronaldo.
He can do all the things Ronaldo did but he doesn’t have the personality on the pitch. Time will tell how well it works.
On Sunday, he praised Bale for playing with an ankle injury because Madrid had no substitutes left. Their relationship will be key to both Solari’s success and Bale’s future.
There is a sense Solari wants the Welsh winger to be more like the departed Cristiano Ronaldo
And the centre-forward has to be Benzema…
No one has done more to make sure Solari gets the job. The Argentine coach is being smart, by the way. The players who the president is desperate to succeed, the youngsters, the summer signings, Bale and favourite son Karim Benzema – are all a big part of what he is trying to do.
And talking of youngsters… has Vinicius disappeared back into the youth team?
No. He was on the bench on Sunday and might have featured had Real Madrid not been forced to make so many changes. He still has a big part to play, especially at home where the supporters want to entertained.
Karim Benzema is key to Solari’s team, which will go down well with president Florentino Perez
But there are no home games for a while?
No. It’s Eibar and Roma away next up. Both are difficult games. Then Valencia visit the Bernabeu and then he is in to Club World Cup territory. By the New Year he will either be shining his first medal or fearing for his job.
But haven’t they just given him a two-and-a-half year deal?
Yes but, just as there was with Lopetegui there is a clause that means if he is sacked he will not be entitled to have his full contract paid up. That’s part of the reason why Antonio Conte did not want the job!
Exciting Brazilian youngster Vinicius Junior will likely play when Real Madrid are at home