"We're going to work hard at finishing the season well", stated Zidane at his presentation ceremony back on March 11th… Less than two months later and the French coach is staring the reality of his challenge straight in the face.
The French coach has been unable to lift the dejected spirit of the squad and it could be perceived that the impact and influence of the 'new coach effect' has evaporated with the passing of the weeks amid poor results and performances. There was a time when all of his tactical decisions and game-plans were widely respected and accepted by the bulk of his squad with each gesture from the French coach serving as a motivational tool and the manager being able to resolve any situation with a sure-fire solution.
This is now not the case. There is now a new lasting image of Zidane bewildered on the touchline at Leganés, Getafe and Vallecas, watching his team play in a disjointed manner and being outplayed by the opposition. No-one thought that it would be straightforward to pick up a team with nothing to play for, but Zidane has shown an impotence akin to that of his predecessors and seems to have lost some that aura often associated with the French coach. His outburst after the defeat in Vallecas was very much directed at his players but it also showed the magnitude of his task ahead. There are still three games remaining in the current campaign and the coach will be dearly hoping for new recruits during the summer transfer window as a catalyst to address the current mindset.