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LALIGA | REAL MADRID - ESPANYOL | ZIDANE

"The thing with Cristiano is he needs to work more"

Zidane reminded the team of their defensive duties: "James has talent, but he needs to help out in defence, like Modric, like everyone".

"The thing with Cristiano is he needs to work more"
Víctor Lerena EFE

Zidane attended the media on Saturday afternoon to preview Real Madrid’s meeting with Espanyol at the Santiago Bernabéu tomorrow.

James stepping into Bale’s role: "We’ll see tomorrow. Bale’s worked well throughout the week and the idea is that he’ll return to the group next week".

Did the draw against Betis have a negative effect on the players? "Quite the opposite. It’s complicated when you drop two points and we want to win all of our games. Considering what we did, we deserved more than a point but in football, you hav to put away the chances you get. Work this week has gone really well".

What instructions have you given James? "To be good, to play well. What I want is that he plays for the team. He’s got talent, but he’s also got his duties to perform in defence – as have all of the players ".

After your first month in the job, how’s Benzema? "I’m happy to be here, happy with the players and happy in the job but the most important thing is that the players are alright and Karim’s fine. He can improve, he’s already playing at a high level, but you can always improve and that is what I ask from the players- that they are fine in themselves and that they try to improve the team".

Referee: "I’m not going to talk about them because they have a difficult job. I am just focusing on what I have to do with my players".

Game plan against Espanyol: "What will the team need to do? Score goals. That’s all. And enter the game strongly".

Modrić’s contribution: "He brings the team a lot. He’s a high quality player and I am trying not to overload him with a lot of orders. He knows what he has to do out on the pitch. He’s a very good player. The only thing I have mentioned is his defensive work. There are only two or three things I tell him out on the pitch, that’s all".

Neymar: "Last week I said that I have a squad of 26 players and I am focused on that and tomorrow’s game".

How is Cristiano? "He hasn’t lost his goal scoring capability, he hasn’t lost anything. He’s fine and he is working well just like the others; he only needs to work a little more. He’s happy with the work he’s doing. Training has been lighter than normal so that the team will be fresh tomorrow. The team is in good shape physically, and I have no worries about the quality".

Making sure the team starts their games well: "The first thing my players have to do is respect our rivals and to respect them properly, you need to start strong right from kick-off. Let’s see if we can again tomorrow like we did in the first two games".

Summer signings: "I’d prefer to avoid any unnecessary hassle – the only thing on my mind is tomorrow’s match, that’s all I am concerned about – taking three points. Later, we’ll see what happens. Whether we can or can’t sign anyone..."