Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane faced the media this afternoon to preview tomorrow's visit from Las Palmas. Apart from talking about Sunday evening's game, Zizou also spoke about recent results, the criticism his players have faced, the return of Gareth Bale and his subsequent call-up for Wales.
Every time someone criticizes your team, you laugh; do you understand the criticism or disagree?
Neither, criticism is something I cannot avoid. I'm not the best coach in the world. I received an award for what we did in one season and I accepted it, but nor am I now suddenly the worst coach: I have always been somewhere in the middle. Life isn't always up or down. Some days we play better than others. My players and myself think positively. We're not happy about our last few games but we are very clear about what we want and where we want to be at the end of the season.
How can you explain this dip in form?
They are just bad patches, like the ones we went through last season. The same thing happened to us last year and we went on to win major trophies. All we are thinking about is putting in a good game and winning tomorrow. We'll continue working on the areas which need improving - everything outside of that we have no control over.
We're not playing badly, insists Zidane
Do you think the problem is that Madrid are playing badly?
No, that's not true. We aren't playing badly. Sometimes we play worse than others but not for a whole game or in all of the games we play.
Will you be changing the system?
We can play a 4-3-3, 4-4-2, with a rhombus formation... I'm not going to change what we need to do out on the pitch or our system just because someone else says we should. I'll make changes because we need to win the game.
Cristiano said that with Morata, Pepe and James, the team was stronger...
Things happen and I am not going to talk about what's been done. All of us need to concentrate our energies into the team - me included, and that's what we're going to do.
Injury problems haven't helped Madrid's cause
Has the team missed the Bale-Benzema-Cristiano front line?
Of course, I want my players to be ready to play. Now we are waiting on Gareth, Carvajal and Kovacic. I want all of my squad to be fit and available to play.
Is it good news that Cristiano has been rested by Portugal?
It's good news because he's been playing non-stop for a while now and it's good that's he'll be staying here with us as we'll have 10 to 15 days to work on the training pitch.