REAL MADRID-MANCHESTER CITY
Zidane: "It will be a disaster if we don't make the final"
"Cristiano will play tomorrow - he's not running any risks, he's at 100 per cent. We will need him at 100 per cent against City. He's a different player and his figures show it..."
Zinedine Zidane took questions from the international media this afternoon to preview tomorrow's Champions League semi-final decider against Manchester City.
How is the squad in terms of fitness? Benzema, Casemiro… “Cristiano's fine, he's at 100 per cent, that's why he's trained and he'll play tomorrow. It's not the same with Karim and Casemiro though. Karim underwent an MRI scan today and he's not quite fully fit so we don't want to risk him. And the same with Casemiro, it's not an injury, he's got an oedema and so he won't be risked either. We have sufficient strength in the squad - others can come and play and that's that”.
What risk is Cristiano running of suffering a relapse? “None because he's fine. He si at 100 per cent”.
Who do you have in mind to come in for Casemiro? “We'll do what we can. Casemiro is Casemiro, but we have other players who can do his job. We will try to field the most competitive side possible and whoever comes in will play the same role as Casemiro”.
Would it be seen as a disaster not to reach the final? “Yes. Until now, we have been saying that we haven't won anything. We're in a good moment, but our plan is to give the best we have got tomorrow to book a place in the final. It's going to be a very difficult game. If we don't go through it will be a disaster because we want to make the final”
How do you envisage the game developing? “Tomorrow's game will be more complicated than the first leg because the tie will be decided. We'll play our own football, respecting our rivals. It won't be like the Wolfsburg match - we won't score two goals in 15 minutes. We know that we're going to suffer from the first minute to the last and the important thing is that we are prepared”.
What are your thoughts on the Leicester miracle? “There are no miracles in football. They had a fantastic season with Ranieri and I'm happy for him. It's the first time that they have won the league and that is admirable. It's fair - they deserved to be crowned champions”.
Will you change the formation with Benzema out? “No I won't be changing anything. The idea's the same, and more so playing at home”.
What do you want to see from your team tomorrow night? “I hope we put in a similar performance to our second half in the first leg, but this time, scoring. We have to press more high up the pitch and display all of the intensity which a Champions League semi-final demands. But in front of us is a great side”.
Cristiano wants you to continue... “We have a great relationship. For me it's important that players talk to their coach. He's working very hard. I like the way he transmits the message I put across in our games and in training. If our working relationship remains like it is, I'll be very happy”.
What do you think of Agüero as a player? “All of them have my admiration. He's a vital player for City, but we won't be paying him any more attention than the rest. What matters is what we do”.
Did you watch the City-Southampton game? “I did, but tomorrow's game will be very different”.
Kroos needs to be more defensive-minded... “I've spoken to him and also the rest. We will need to defend well tomorrow when we don't have the ball - and not just Kroos, everyone. Lately we have been doing that well. But the best way to defend is to have the ball”.