Zidane's 'sophomore year' gets off to a bad start
Real Madrid lost in Columbus to Paris Saint-Germain. That's not good; defeat always goes down badly at Los Blancos. It's not an earth-shattering reverse, because it wasn't exactly Real as we know it. It was more like a Real 'B' team in the first half and a 'C' team in the second. The first XI is still to return. PSG were also missing some of their key men, but not as many as Madrid: of the starters in Milan, only Marcelo and Casemiro were in the line-up. Despite not being Real as we know it, however, it was still something pretty similar - and the account they gave of themselves in the opening 45 was disastrous. Disorganised, careless, lacking ambition.
'Zizou' facing second-season challenges
Zinedine Zidane is going into what could be termed - in the American style - his 'sophomore year': his second campaign as a pro (a pro coach in his case, obviously). One in which your true worth really gets found out. What with the motivation generated by the novelty factor, the slack given by crowd and critic and the general attitude of positivity, the first year brings a helping hand that disappears in the second. Now it gets real. Zidane has to plant his imprint on Real, bring his weight to bear on his squad of players and stamp his influence on what they produce on the pitch. Unai Emery, a coach of experience, showed he's got his men on their toes from the off. Zidane didn't; far from it.
Second half brought game's only positives
The Frenchman has time, of course. But if the president starts by disregarding his plans for player ins and outs (and I fear that's what's happening), he's got a tough job getting his team on their toes. Footballers are highly sensitive to their coach's states of strength or weakness. Perhaps that's why those who started the match came out as they did. Perhaps that's why the only positives were seen after the break, with Marco Asensio and Marcos Llorente leading the way and the rest largely good value, at least in terms of enthusiasm. They haven't won anything yet, not even a place in the squad. Those who do have a spot did Zidane no favours.
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