Zinedine Zidane is using Barcelona’s slump as inspiration for Real Madrid’s fightback against Wolfsburg on Tuesday. “We were 13 points behind…”
Madrid must score at least two goals against Wolfsburg and not concede if they are to progress to the Champions League semi-final for the sixth consecutive season, having lost 2-0 in the first leg of their last-eight tie with the Germans, and Zidane is a believer that “anything can happen”.
“It’s not my first big game as Coach,” he said at a Press conference.
“Every game is important. There’s pressure whenever we start a game but nothing of any concern in what we do.
“We’re focused and that’s the most important thing. When I see them like this, it takes the pressure off my shoulders.
“I’m not going to discuss the referee. I didn’t do it before and I’m not going to start now. He’ll have his game and I believe he’ll try to do his best.
“[Karim Benzema] has fully recovered from his knock and is ready to play.
“[On a ‘cold atmosphere’ at the Bernabeu], it’s an important game and we all know that, but to play a game like this, you need a lot of composure.
“The game won’t be won in 10 or 15 minutes. Anything can happen in football and you have to be focused from the first to last minute.
“We know we’ll have more opportunities [to progress] if we don’t concede. We all know what we have to, which is to play football.
“They’ll put on an intense match and so will we. After that, it’s up to what you do with the ball. We’ll look to play football, which is the most important thing.
“[On Madrid’s comeback against Bayern Munich in 2002], it’s just a game of football. I don’t remember much of it, but this club have made some great comebacks at the Bernabeu and we’re ready to do so again.
“There’s not much to tell the players, but they mustn’t talk too much. They know exactly what lies ahead of them.
“It’s true that we’re 2-0 down and we have to score, but there’s 90 minutes to do that, not five.
“My message [to the players] is patience. In La Liga, we were 13 points behind Barcelona and now we’re four [points behind].
“Playing well means being balanced, defending well and not only scoring goals.
“Madrid are never prepared for failure. We always expect to progress. If we’re the club with the most European cups then it’s for a reason.
“Whatever happens, happens, but I’m always positive and the fans want to see their team play well.
“I think everything is linked to how we train. We always want more, the little that we do very well and that is the detail when I talk about the face of the players at this stage.
“What I want from the fans is to encourage us until the end [of the game], and they know they can change many things. What we have to do is give them a great match.
“When you talk about Casemiro, he particularly gives us balance. He’s doing things in [a defensive] sense and also important when we’re going forward.
“When we have the ball, it’s important to know what will happen next and Casemiro thinks a lot about these things.”