Speaking on Monday, Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane looked ahead to Los Blancos’ Champions League clash with Shakhtar Donetsk – a match in which his side have the opportunity to book their place in the last 16.
Madrid, who sit three points clear of third-placed Shakhtar in Group B, will be guaranteed a top-two finish if they beat the Ukrainians in Kyiv on Tuesday.
Zidane’s pre-Shakhtar press conference: Qualification in Real Madrid’s hands:
“We know that tomorrow is another cup final. We have two left. Tomorrow’s game is probably the most important of the group stage because it’s three points that would take us through. We just have to focus on that goal.”
Is the stress of the expectations on him at Madrid making Eden Hazard more injury-prone, as the Belgium national team’s doctor says?
“No, absolutely not! He’s mentally very strong. It’s another injury for him and it’s bad news for us, but it’s something that’s happening to a lot of teams and we have to deal with it, because just like other teams we’ve got a lot of players. I have no doubts about the player he is and what he wants to achieve here. He’s had a bad time of it recently and we’re going to help him.”
Togetherness and hunger in the Madrid squad:
“Of course I can still see it. It’s just that we have had a lot of unusual things: injuries, different preparation… It all has an influence. But the players never lose their desire to always fight hard and show what they can do. That’s impossible at this club. The players know where they are and what it means to play for Real Madrid. I have no doubts about that.”
Bad displays not down to lack of desire:
When you have a bad game, I wouldn’t link that to desire. A bad performance can happen, but the players’ desire has nothing to do with that.”
Marco Asensio’s poor form:
“What you [the media] need to do is stop talking about how he needs to do one thing or the other. Just let him play. He has to get back into his stride bit by bit. He has been out injured for a year.”
Is coaching this Real Madrid squad more difficult than in previous years?
“No. Things are maybe more difficult right now in the sense that we’re struggling for consistency, but at Real Madrid there have always been difficult moments. I found that as a player, too. But we always overcome them – that’s the most important thing.”