"The fans have to think about next season too. A lot of players will stay with us so we all need to remain united. I hope the fans give their support," the Madrid coach said.
Zinedine Zidane took questions from the media this afternoon after his Real Madrid squad finalized their preparations for tomorrow's league game against Villarreal. But before starting his press conference, Zidane sent a message to Iker Casillas, wishing the goalkeeper well in his recovery from a heart attack.
"The first thing I'd like to do is send a message to Iker, wishing him well from all of us here at the club. I sent him a text message yesterday and he's upbeat and feeling much better. We'd like to send him strength from here".
Three games left to play
Four victories at home since returning to the coaching job: “We all want to continue winning at the Bernabéu. We have another chance to show our fans that we want to finish the season winning and playing well. This is another opportunity for us to do that and we enjoy playing at the Bernabéu. Up until now we have been having difficulties, it's been a tough season, but at the very least to put in a good performance again tomorrow”.
Exchange of text messages with Iker Casillas: “Like a lot of other people, I sent him my best wishes for a speedy recovery. He's feeling better now. He also sent us a message. He's better. Now he's got to take it easy, make sure he recovers properly, and only think about resting… he seems in good spirits judging by his message”.
Zidane asked about Gareth Bale
Bale's situation: “I'm the coach here and I'm the one who has to build a team, make decisions; he has to train and focus on playing. I can't answer for him - or for any of the other players, but what I can say is that the players all know where they are. All of us know the responsibility we have and after that it's my job to choose the team, and decide who is on the subs' bench… We'll see what happens”.
Do you expect more from Bale? “I expect the best from all of my players, the best they've got to give. I don't ask any more than that. That's what we spend the whole week training for”.
Would you consider fielding Bale at left-back? “No”.
Zidane looking on the positive side
Your state of mind: “We can't end the season now, that isn't possible because we have three games left and we have to play them. I'm fine, honestly. I was very angry the other day - as were the players, because we didn't play well. Sometimes things just don't go your way, like the other day for us. Looking on the positive side, however disappointing this season might have been, is that we have another game tomorrow to prove ourselves. No one is going to take away the passion we have for playing football - that's what the players enjoy doing and that's what we'll be trying to do tomorrow. The season's how it is, but we have to start thinking about next season because there are going to be changes here; many of the current players will be staying and our fans will be the same. I ask the fans to show us support tomorrow, we will be trying to take something positive from it, like we did in our last home game against Athletic”.
Vinicius: “He hasn't surprised me at all. He is training, he's better - muich better, he's the preliminary list. He needed these past two weeks, physically he is a lot better. He's 18 - he could be my son”.
New signings nefore the US tour: “I don't know if that will be possible. We need to do things with calm. We'll have time this summer as there's no World Cup or Euros. Some players will be going off with their national teams after the last two games - some will be playing the Copa América, but we'll have more time to prepare for the new season. Up until 31 August, anything can happen”.