Eusebio: "Zidane and Benítez made Madrid a more solid side"

Real Sociedad coach Eusebio feels that Sunday's guests Real Madrid are more solid defensively now but insists his team will be making life difficult for them at Anoeta on Sunday. Real Sociedad-Real Madrid live

Eusebio: "Zidane and Benítez made Madrid a more solid side"

Real Sociedad coach Eusebio Sacristán feels that both Zidane and Benítez left their own stamp on Real Madrid last season to turn them into a better team. In his overview of Sunday's visitors to Anoeta, Eusebio said he expects his side to face a defensively "more compact" side but one which "can pack a punch in attack like they always have" but warned that his team are fully prepared and ready to put in an intense game from start to finish.

"They are the reigning European champions and a very, very strong side in all departments. For us, it's always an extra motivation to take on teams of such quality - and we want to get the new season off in the best way possible", Eusebio said of Zidane's Madrid. "I think that last season, what Benítez brought to the team and with everything that Zidane gave them, they have come on leaps and bounds defensively - they are a far more solid team now than other Madrid sides of recent years, and they are just as ruthless in attack as they always have been. Having said that, some of their players have only recently returned and haven't had the chance to complete a full pre-season yet - that could affect performance levels, but they'll be there in the coming weeks. It's a good time for us to meet them, and we plan to give them a demanding game.

Eusebio gave an update on centre-back Iñigo Martínez who returned to training this morning after being laid low by a thigh muscle sprain earlier in the week. “Iñigo has trained and the sensations have been positive. We have another session ahead of us so we will see how he fares tomorrow. If he feels like he did today, then he will be available to play", he said. And he also was asked about transfer mill claims that Athletic Club are willing to meet Mikel Oyarzabal's 40M euro buy-out fee - "Mikel's relaxed, focused on his work; he's happy here and he really looking forward to the new season like we all are". It's not clear where the rumours about Oyarzabal started, and why Athletic would contemplate trying to poach a player a Real Sociedad academy graduate; Ernesto Valverde retorted: "It's not as simple as just going to the cash till and pulling out 40 million euros..."