Clement on Alonso absence & Madrid prep

Real Madrid assistant Paul Clement has bemoaned the absence of Xabi Alonso for tomorrow’s Champions League final.

The midfielder will be missing from the match against Atletico Madrid on Saturday, after picking up a booking during the semi-final win over Bayern Munich.

And the Coach has claimed that the former Liverpool man will be a ‘big loss’, but is confident that the squad can cope.

“He is a big loss,” he told The Guardian. “But just having him around is important as well. He is such a settling influence, especially on the young players.

“There are a number of options we’re still considering and we have a good idea but no final decision has been made yet – it will be the last moment.

“That’s good, it keeps the players on their toes – not nervous, but making sure they train properly and feel they have that chance.”

The Englishman then commented on how the team are preparing for the game in Lisbon, and Atleti’s style against Los Blancos’

“We always prepare thoroughly but the attention to detail goes to another level for a game like this.

“We planned really carefully, especially after losing to Celta Vigo [in their penultimate League game]. We knew that there would be nothing in it, in terms of winning the League, so we made sure we had two weeks’ prep for the final.

“We know [Atleti] very well – they had the edge in the League, winning at our place and drawing away, and we had the edge in the Cup when we won both games.

“In training, we create situations that are similar to Atlético in terms of tactical approach, positioning, and movement.

“We put out two teams, one very similar to them in shape, and ask them to do things Atlético will do against us. Then we ask our team to do the things we need to break that down.

“There are two contrasting styles – they play with a very compact block in a four-four-two. They’re very rarely out of position, and they are very aggressive.

“[Diego] Simeone has done a tremendous job – congratulations to them for winning the League.

“They use the ball well too: they defend deep but when they get the ball they’re effective at moving the ball forward together, very compact in attack as well as defence.

“They don’t just punt it forward; they play little combinations and work their way down the field.

“There will be periods when they have the ball and there is space behind [for Bale and Ronaldo], but certainly not as much as when you play against Barcelona or Bayern. We expect to have to break down a tight block for the majority of the game.”

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