September 24, 2019

Zidane brushes off criticism as Madrid look to continue recovery


Zinedine Zidane claims he has not even thought about the criticism aimed at him in recent weeks as Real Madrid look to build on Sunday’s morale-boosting win away at Sevilla.


Madrid eased the growing pressure on their coach with a determined performance at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan after they had been beaten 3-0 by Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League four days before.

That loss was Madrid’s worst during Zidane’s two spells as coach and prompted questions about the Frenchman’s future, with Jose Mourinho among those linked with taking charge.

Madrid play newly-promoted Osasuna on Wednesday and could go top of La Liga with a victory.

“It’s always the same, there has always been criticism and there always will be,” Zidane said in a press conference on Tuesday.

“I don’t even think about it. It is what it is, it happens. When we lose, I’m going to get sacked and when we win, I’m the best. You just have to keep working.

“I feel strong but I feel the same as I did a month ago. The important thing is to give 100 per cent and to give my best. I remember playing badly for this team as well but the important thing is to give your best.”

Madrid have won three of their six games in all competitions so far this season and, after Osasuna, play Atletico Madrid at the Wanda Metropolitano on Saturday.

“We played a good game in Sevilla but most of all we played as a team from the first minute until the last,” Zidane said. ”

“Playing as a team, fighting for each other, that’s what we have to do against Osasuna and we have to keep playing like that.”

Not for the first time this season, Zidane singled out Gareth Bale for praise on Sunday after the Welshman continued his reintegration at the club with another tenacious display.

“I am not surprised,” Zidane said. “I’m with him every day and we know he can do a lot offensively but he is helping us defensively too. When we work together we can achieve good things.”

Madrid will be without Ferland Mendy on Wednesday after the defender injured his hamstring against Sevilla.

It is the second muscle injury Mendy has suffered since joining Madrid from Lyon for 50 million euros in July and leaves Zidane short at left-back, with Marcelo also recovering from a back problem.

Zidane said Marcelo is close to a return, along with Luka Modric and Isco, who have been out with thigh injuries. Marco Asensio is a long-term absentee after he ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament.