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Zlatko Dalic: "When Madrid lose, they blame the foreign players"

The coach, whose Croatia side face Spain on Thursday, was asked about Modric: "They put the blame on Luka, Kroos or other players when the team loses".

Zlatko Dalic: "When Madrid lose, they blame the foreign players"

Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic is confident that Luka Modric will soon be back at his peak, telling reporters in Zagreb this afternoon that he has "never doubted Luka" as the World Cup runners-up prepare to take on Spain later this week.

Dalic pointed out that Modric, who has experienced a dip in form recently, has always performed to an exceptional level with the national team and he will be relying on the Real Madrid star to deliver in the UEFA Nations League meeting with Spain on Thursday. "I spoke to him a few days ago. Luka is well aware that like anyone else, footballers go through their ups and downs and after playing brillantly for whole year, you can't always be at that level and be the best", the coach said today.

Foriegn scapegoats

Dalic was also critical of the way Real Madrid's foreign players always seem to get singled out whenever the team loses a game - with Modric and Toni Kroos bearing much of the flak. "When Madrid lose a match, they look for a someone to blame among the foreign players. They'll then point the finger at Luka, Kroos or another player. But at the end of the day, Luka is the best player in the world", added Dalic, who was quick to remind reporters that it was Modric who supplied the pass for Madrid's opener against Celta on Sunday.

Luka Modric
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As for Thursday’s game, Dalic stressed how important it is for Croatia to bounce back after the 6-0 defeat his team suffered to Luis Enrique’s side in Elche on Matchday 2. "We’ve got to go out in search of getting our own back – not so much in terms of revenge but we have to go for the three points", the coach continued, adding that his team, “are in good form, much better now than back in September and all of our players are fit and healthy”.

Spain, he notes, have changed their style under Luis Enrique. "Now they don’t have so much possession of the ball – instead, they play a quicker, more direct game, moving forward. They have a few new, younger players. They’ve changed their style a little", he explained. "It will be difficult, there’s no doubt about that, extremely difficult. We’ll need to take the initiative, maintain possession of the ball. They are very quick at moving the ball about,so we’ll have to be careful".

Problem at left-back

Dalic’s main concern going into the match is who to field at left-back where he has no one available. "(Josip) Pivaric, (Borna) Barisic, (Borna) Sosa and (Marin) Leovac are all injured... I still haven’t found a solution but maybe (Antonio) Milic or (Tin) Jedvaj can help us out. We’ll see". Croatia go into the game, bringing up the rear in Group 4 on one point - three points behind second-plcaed England and trailing leaders Spain by five points but with a game in hand.


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