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Isco accepts Lopetegui rotation following late Athletic Bilbao draw

15:39 GMT+3 16/09/2018
Isco Real Madrid
The Spain international was expected by many to be a regular starter under the new Real Madrid boss but insists he is happy to play where he is told

Isco insists he has no problem with Julen Lopetegui's rotation policy at Real Madrid, pointing out it was the media and not himself who were convinced he would be an automatic starter.

Madrid dropped points for the first time this season in Saturday's 1-1 draw with Athletic Bilbao, as Isco came off the bench to rescue them after the break.

It was the second LaLiga game in a row that the Spain international has been left out of the starting XI, after also appearing as a substitute against Leganes before the international break.

Such a situation has come as a surprise to some in Spain, with many expecting that the forward would form a crucial part of Lopetegui's plans after the pair worked together to great success with the national side in the past.

But Isco is adamant rotation is not an issue, instead placing it at the feet of the press who thought he would figure as a regular.

“It's not just me in the team,” said the 26-year-old. “There are other team-mates who may be better than me and that's why the coach chooses his starting line-up.

“All that stuff about how it was going to be Isco and 10 more under Lopetegui, that's what you [reporters] were saying.”

Isco started both of Spain’s Nations League games during the international break, featuring prominently up front during the 2-1 comeback win over England and scoring the last goal in their 6-0 drubbing of World Cup finalists Croatia.

Despite this however, the striker insisted that he remains happy to play whatever role Lopetegui asks of him for the team, even if that necessitates remaining on the bench.

"It's a long season and we'll need to be prepared. As the coach says, the important thing is that everyone is ready and ready to meet the objectives."

With Barcelona having overturned a deficit to win on Saturday, Madrid are two points behind their rivals at the summit of La Liga after four games.

They will next face Espanyol in the league on September 22 – but before then, they start their Champions League title defence against last season’s semi-finalists Roma on September 19.