Zinedine Zidane on Real Madrid Switching Off, James Rodriguez, Tactical Tweaks & Player Fitness

Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane provided an honest assessment of his team’s performance after watching his side labour to a frustrating 1-1 draw with Real Valladolid.

Los Blancos created a number of opportunities and eventually took the lead through Karim Benzema’s instinctive finish eight minutes from time. But the hosts were unable to see the game out as Sergi Guardiola netted two minutes from time, leaving Zidane frustrated at his side’s inability to see out the game.

Here’s what Zizou had to say after the ?game.

Zidane on Real’s Performance as a Whole

Sergio Ramos,Gareth Bale

?Real Madrid had to wait until the final ten minutes before they were able to make their dominance count. However, they let the slender lead slip with just two minutes remaining, leaving Zidane fuming.

“It’s left a bad taste in my mouth because we did the most difficult thing, which was scoring in the second half, which wasn’t the best,” the World Cup winning Frenchman said, as quoted by Marca.

“After scoring, they equalise… The first half was good, but we lacked the goal. The problem wasn’t losing the ball, that can happen. We were out of position. Then the ball, it’s true, we should’ve sent it the f*** out of there.

“You have to be practical in the 84th minute. But it’s like this today and you have to accept it. Any team can beat you. But we have to play for 90 minutes.”

Zidane on James Rodriguez’s Performance 

James Rodriguez

?James Rodriguez was handed his first start for Real since May 2017 on Saturday, and the Colombian took his chance with a strong showing.

He did, however, come off around the hour mark, with Zidane admitting that he was pleased with what he had seen, before confirming he was replaced because he’d picked up a knock. 

“James played well. Then he came off because he had a knock so Vinicius came on. The second half was worse for us.”

Zidane on Potentially Switching Formations

Luka Jovic

Los Blancos were able to create a plethora of chances, but failed to assert their dominance. Although Benzema did eventually get on the scoresheet, the striker had a number of previous goalscoring opportunities that he squandered. 

Zidane alluded to the lack of ruthlessness in front of goal, revealing: “[Luka] Jovic’s first shot hit the bar, Karim [Benzema] scored… This [lack of goals] has to change.

“We could play 4-4-2 in more matches.”

As the hosts desperately searched for a winner, Luke Jovic was sent on to partner Benzema up front – with the new recruit rattling the bar. 

Zidane on His Players’ Fitness 

Toni Kroos

After a strong first half showing, Real’s tempo dropped in the second 45 minutes. As a result, the fans began to get increasingly agitated and the atmosphere around the stadium changed. 

Zidane called for patience after the game, claiming that fluidity in his side’s play, rather than fitness, was to blame for their lacklustre second half showing. 

“I’m seeing that the team are under more pressure for what happened last year. The crowd too. I’m asking the fans. We need the fans. We need to get involved as well.

“The heat isn’t an excuse. We weren’t as convincing going into the second half. Our team wasn’t fluid and when it’s not fluid you have problems. But it’s not a physical problem.”


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