Real Madrid not contemplating Europa League, insists Zidane

Real Madrid are not contemplating the possibility of having to play in the Europa League this season, boss Zinedine Zidane insisted.

Los Blancos are currently on course to end their Champions League group stage campaign in third spot and be demoted from the competition into the Europa League.

Madrid enter the final matchday on seven points from their five group games – one point behind Borussia Monchengladbach, whom they host on the final day, and behind Shakhtar Donetsk due to their head-to-head record.

Madrid will definitely be eliminated with a loss at home to Gladbach and even a draw will not be enough if the Ukrainian side secure at least a point against Inter.

The club have never previously failed to progress through the group stages – being successful in all 24 attempts – and the last time they were not in the Champions League knockout stages was in 1997.

When asked in his pre-match press conference if playing in the Europa League was on their minds, Zidane said as cited by Marca: “I don’t think about the Europa League, I don’t contemplate anything else. And the players are the same. You (the media) can think and give your opinion, it’s your job. We only think about playing a great game.

“It is a different game because we know the situation. We want to add the three points and finish the first group in first. We have all that in mind. All the games are important, but it is a good opportunity to show what we are as a team.

“All the players and the club are used to playing under pressure. We are used to playing games like this. We know what is at stake. We have to manage our emotions and above all prepare things well. The important thing is that we prepare the game well.

“They are a great team on the counterattack, physically powerful, with good technique …we must prepare the game well, but I am more concerned with what we do as a team.”

Tags Zinedine Zidane