After some dismal recent form, which has seen Real Madrid go both winless and goalless over their last four competitive outings, the pressure has been well and truly cranked up over the weeks leading up to the global break.
Marcelo's goal at least ended the drought and gave them hope of a fightback, but it was all too frantic and Levante nearly grabbed a third on the break in injury time, before the final whistle which was greeted with jeers and whistles from the stand.
"My players don't deserve this punishment, we play in the Champions League on Tuesday and we need to recover".
Madrid's latest defeat, a late 1-0 reverse at Deportivo Alaves, saw the pressure crank up a notch on Lopetegui, who was forced to insist he did not fear for his job.
Madrid hit the bar again when Mariano Diaz sent a thumping header towards goal, while Lucas Vazquez somehow failed to beat Oier Olazabal from close range in another big opportunity. "I'm completely confident in players and the squad we've got, I think we'll have a great season", he told a news conference.
Real are fifth in La Liga but the team above them have a game in hand with the exception of Alaves.
"We had a lot of chances", he added. We're anxious about Levante and ourselves, like who's fit and who isn't - the rest is not in my control, so I try not to take too much notice. They suffered a two-goal swing as a result of the Video Assistant Referee, one against called as a penalty, and one ruled out for offside. They could find themselves further down as more games are played over the weekend.
On October 29th, the first El Clasico of the campaign will roll around at Camp Nou, the first time where one of Los Blancos, Barça and Atletico Madrid will likely have to pull slightly clear of those around them.
"This was a game that we had to win with no excuses".