Zidane hints at a plan with Bale and speedy counters
The Real Madrid manager was tight-lipped at his press conference ahead of the Clásico but did divulge some of what he is thinking about the game.
Zinedine Zidane, faithful to his style, didn't give anything away at his press conference ahead of the Clásico on Wednesday. In fact, the manager was especially tight-lipped about the special circumstances surrounding the game. "I don't have to explain anything, not to a friend or anybody," he said when asked how he would explain to a French person the situation that forced the Clásico to be moved to Wednesday.
He was similarly mum when the actual game was mentioned. Zidane never gives away clues as to his starting team and he wasn't going to change for such an important fixture. What he did insinuate, however, is that Bale might be on the agenda at the Camp Nou on Wednesday.
The Welsh attacker was brought up and Zidane was asked if he was ready to play. There was optimism in the response: "Bale is with us, he is training well. He is an important player and has always shown that. Tomorrow he will be prepared like everyone, I don't have a doubt about that."
The 'he has always shown it' part might be in reference to his big-game appearances. The finals in Lisbon and Kiev, the Copa del Rey fial against Barcelona in Valencia. Or the last Clásico Zidance coached in May 2018 with Bale scoring the equaliser at 2-2. Zidane is fully aware of Bale's qualities including his aerial prowess, speed in open space and both his desire and ability to score goals.
Asked whether possession would be a central element in the game, Zidane was less revealing. "No. That's not what is worrying me, there are many things to worry about. What we have to do is show the best verion of ourselves and that's it," he said. What has worked well for Real Madrid in the past is conceding possession and pressing once Barcelona cross the halfway line before breaking with speed. They'll need to pull it off to perfection at the Camp Nou on Wednesday and Bale might be key to seeing Madrid gain leadership of top spot in LaLiga with a win.