?Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has dismissed claims that his side are short in goal scoring ability as they prepare for their last game of 2019.
On Wednesday, Madrid drew a blank as they played out a stalemate away to Barcelona in the latest Clásico – their fourth goalless game of their league campaign – but they still rank second in goals scored.
A win at home to Athletic Club on Sunday would take them level on points with league leaders Barça going into La Liga’s winter break, and Zidane addressed concerns about his side’s inability to finish their chances lately but refused to say he’s worried.?
Speaking to the media at Madrid’s training ground ahead of Sunday’s clash, Zidane said: “No, we are not lacking firepower. We couldn’t score the other day, but it was just in that particular game. It’s clear we can always improve, but it was just a specific game.”
The Frenchman also commented on ?Real Madrid’s tendency to shoot from distance, admitting it is an approach he endorses.
“Yes, I’m encouraging the players to do it because we have many players here who can shoot it very well, it’s a weapon we can take advantage of,” he explained.
Real Madrid have taken the most shots from outside the box in ?La Liga this season (118), with Villarreal the only other Spanish side to have attempted more than 100. However, it is their greatest rivals, ?Barcelona, who have scored the most long-range goals, netting almost double the six Los Blancos have managed, with 11 of their own.
In fact, ?Lionel Messi has, single-handedly, scored more goals from outside the box than the entire Madrid squad combined, with the Argentinian notching eight long-range efforts this season.
Zidane attempted to alleviate any concerns Madrid fans may have had about their attacking prowess by addressing his reintroduction of Isco to the first team. Zidane praised the Spaniard’s work ethic and emphasised his importance to the group.
“He’s having a relevant role again because he’s a very good player,” he said. “He always trains very well because he wants to play. We know he can contribute and his current role is due to his work ethic.”