Zinedine Zidane attended the media this afternoon to preview tomorrow's trip to the Benito Villamarín where Betis will play host to his team. The Real Madrid coach took an analytic look at that game but preferred to shy away from discussing his future plans...
Going from one competition to another
Do you find it hard to change your mindset after competing in the Champions League? “It's just the way it is, we're used to it. We did well the other night and now we have to start thinking about the day to day, which means focusing on the league and concentrating on that. We have prepared well for this game, even though we've only had a few days' rest - but that's just how things are. Our minds are focused only on LaLiga and tomorrow's game”.
Some people are saying that you could leave at the end of the season, if Madrid win the Champions League: “I'll give you the same answer I always give - the most important thing is to take the job one day at a time; I don't look at where I might be - only where I am and what I am doing now in the present and I want to finish this season. All we are interested in is competing and playing. I don't want to discuss anything else because it doesn't interest me. It doesn't change anything. As for the PSG game, we won a difficult game, but it's just one game. We know we have the return leg to get through. But before that, we have five league games”.
I will call on all of my players at some point, says Zidane
Have you ever thought about leaving Benzema on the bench? “I have faith in everyone in my squad - not just Benzema. We have a lot of games - more now. There will be games which we have only had two training sessions to prepare for. I want to make sure all of my players are ready for when they are needed”.
Have you taken a decision on your future? “I'm only interested in the day to day. I don't look any further than that. As for the players, of course it's very nice when a player comes and tells me that they are happy with what I am doing. I have that relationship with all of them. I know how a dressing room works, I spent 18 years as a player and so I know what they go through. I like that connection we have and I think it works. I'm grateful for their words - the other day is was Marcelo, then Modric, Ramos, Cristiano… it's very nice to hear those things”.
Cristiano is hitting form: “Cristiano's a player that you should never doubt - even when he isn't scoring. With just a few chances he can create problems for our rivals and we are all aware of that. I don't know whether he's in his best form, but he knows the end of the season is a long way off”.
Hazards and responsibilities that go with the Madrid job
Does being a modern day coach take its toll and do you think the Real Madrid job is one which you can only do for a certain amount of time? “It's extremely tiring, no doubt about it, and more so at a club like Real Madrid. Of course there will be a moment when there will be changes, but that applies to all of us - the players too. The job takes it out of you but more here than in other places”.
Asensio staking his claim
What more does Asensio need to do to get regular playing time in LaLiga and the Champions League? "I always get this kind of question - today it's Marco. Yesterday it was Isco. Other times it's Ceballos... It's the hardest thing for a coach: making that choice and leaving seven on the bench and three or four at home. The players are ready for when they get their opportunity. Some play more than others in a team; that always happens".