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Zidane has work to do ahead of the Supercup: the defence, Bale...


Zidane has work to do ahead of the Supercup: the defence, Bale...

Zidane has work to do ahead of the Supercup: the defence, Bale...


After the first disappointing result of the pre-season, the coach is aware that he has a number of issues to sort out ahead of the European Super Cup final.

Real Madrid suffered a heavy defeat in their second friendly of the pre-season against Manchester City, and while the technical staff are not overly worried by that at this stage of the team's preparations, Zidane is aware that several issues need to be sorted well in advance of the UEFA Super Cup final against Manchester United on 8 August.

The defence

The team's defending is Zidane's biggest concern as it is a problem which reared its head at numerous points last season. Keylor Navas has been playing at a high level since the players returned to work but the team is looking vulnerable and disorganized at the back. Conceding five goals in two games, even at this level, to way too much. The team has noticed Ramos' absence - the captain still has not played due to an ear infection. Identifying the problem areas in defence and putting them right will be one of Zidane's tasks during the next week.

Low goal count

Madrid are conceding too many and not scoring enough. They've managed just two goals in their two outings and both of them were scored by midfielders - one from the penalty spot (Casemiro against Man United); the other, a long-range strike from Óscar against City. The team isn't advancing into opponents' penalty areas as often as usual and is creating fewer attempts on goal. That's normal at this stage of the pre-season and Cristiano's absence is also a factor to bear in mind, but there will be no excuses if the Madrid are still lacking punching power when they contest the first piece of silverware of the season in Skopje.

Gareth Bale

The Welsh winger has looked a little out of sorts and disconnected from the rest of the team in the first two friendlies. There have been glimpses of his enormous quality, but he is far off looking like the kind of commanding figure who leads the team when Cristiano isn't around. Bale is an explosive player, whose physical strength is a quality which the team relies on, and so Zidane will be hoping to see him back at his best before the United game.

Madrid in general lack spark

This is an area which is of least worry for the coaching staff and something which they are confident will be resolved in time. Antonio Pintus has put the players through a gruelling fitness programme since the start of the pre-season and while that will yield results in the long term, in the short term, legs are still heavy and muscles yet to be fully toned. The demanding workouts the squad have been put through have caused fatigue and that has been evident in the team's performances so far. The team's, one-touch triangular passing is neither sharp nor accurate - but that will come. Those are the qualities which have marked the difference between Madrid and their rivals but they have yet to surface. It's something the technical can build on in next week's training sessions as workouts shift from cardiovascular and muscle-toning exercises to ones focused on ballwork.


Zidane and his coaching team will be working on the tactical side of the team's game after the third test of the summer against Barcelona in Miami. Again, tactical issues are not a priority at this stage although psychologically, a run of wins during the pre-season does tend to breed confident. The objective of the first two game was to regain rhythm. El Clásico against Barça will be another demanding test for Madrid and a good barometer to gauge what level the team is at ahead of the Super Cup.


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