That’s their short-term ambition, while their longer-term ambition of applying pressure to leaders Atletico Madrid, ten points clear, looks slightly more complicated.
Los Blancos lost 2-1 to Levante at Valdebebas last weekend, a result that came hot on the heels of exits to Athletic Bilbao in the Supercopa de Espana and third-tier Alcoyano in the Copa del Rey.
Zinedine Zidane wasn’t present during the defeat to Levante as he had tested positive for covid-19, but he’s come under significant pressure nonetheless.
To make things even worse, their big-money signing from the summer of 2019, Eden Hazard, picked up the latest in a succession of injuries to rule himself out for the next six weeks.
This was a real blow for morale given Madrid were seeking to shift focus to trying to claw back the massive gap to Atletico and maybe even doing something in the Champions League, where they face Atalanta in the last 16.
“We’re excited and prepared to win,” Zidane said pre-match in comments carried by Marca.
“We want to go back to what we were doing a short time ago. The entire squad owes it to themselves to fight until the end of the season. That’s what we’re going to try to do as a team.
“At the end of the day you [the media] do your job. One day I’m out, another day I’m back in. If we draw or lose I’m out. That’s what you’re doing. I get angry because we are going to try to do our job. We fight in our work and you fight in yours. But you must respect our work a little.”