Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane faced the international media in Valdebebas on Monday afternoon to preview tomorrow's Champions League quarter final return leg against Bayern Munich. The coach said he is more than satisfied with how his team has been performing (Real Madrid beat Sporting Gijón on Saturday, though it was with a late goal from Isco) but the Frenchman warned that Tuesday's tie is far from over...
Zidane makes plea to Madrid's 12th man - the Bernabéu
What kind of game are you expecting? “I'm not going to talk about the importance of this game, we all know how important it is. But our fans will need to play a bigger role than usual. We always need them, and they are always there for us but in a game like this, we need them to be full on and really getting behind us. Having the Bernabéu behind us gives us an extra push - and more so in games like this”.
Is Bale's fitness a concern? “Bale has worked very hard to get back into the side after his injury and he was delighted when he returned. He's got a niggling problem which maans he's not 100 per cent. I hope it's nothing important, and that he'll be back with us in a few days' time. He's not going to play tomorrow because we can't risk him. He deserves to be with us for this final part of the season”.
Will he be ready for El Clásico? “I hope he's back in time, but I can't be completely sure. We'll see how he is day by day”.
In-form Isco, with a high chance of starting against Bayern
Has Isco earned his place in the side against Bayern? “Like all of the others, he's ready. We are prepared to play this game. I will decide who will play tomorrow”.
Who have you got in mind to step in for Bale? “I have already decided but I can't say any more than that. All of the players are doing great. I have to choose one. But I am very happy that they are all at a high level and that makes it it even more difficult for me to select the team but it's better that way”.
It's surprising how little Isco has played in the Champions League... “There's no explanation. We've been rotating the team but the fact that he has appeared so sporadically in the Champions League is pure chance - it's just worked out that way. Looking at the statistics is quite surprising because he's only played 77 minutes in total - not very much. But anyway, we have a lot of important games and we'll see what happens tomorrow”.
Three players could miss the semi-final if Madrid progress...
Ramos, Kroos and Modric are one booking away from suspension: “We can make ssure we avoid yellow cards. We'll be playing a game and without thinking about who might get booked”.
James: “I think about him every day, like I do with everyone else. We need everyone. We need the regular starters and players to come on as subs for them. With James, I feel the same way as I do about all of the others. It's true that he's played less but I love him as much as the rest”.
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