REAL MADRID

Real Madrid boss Zidane: Sometimes a change is best for everyone

Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane fielded questions about his future as he looked ahead to Sunday's LaLiga clash with Athletic Club.

Madrid
Real Madrid boss Zidane: There are times when a change is best for everyone
realmadrid.com

Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane spoke to the media ahead of Sunday’s crucial LaLiga clash with Athletic Club (12:30 EDT), as Los Blancos look to chase down leaders Atlético Madrid.

With two games of the season to go, Madrid sit two points behind Atlético, who host Osasuna this weekend.

Zidane's pre-Athletic Club press conference

Making a good start against Athletic:

“What we’re going to do isn’t going to change; we’re going to try to start well like the other day [in the 4-1 win over Granada], and compete for 90 minutes. That’s what we want to do.”

Would success this season represent a bigger achievement than it normally would?

“Yes, certainly… I’m proud of all my players, given everything that’s happened. They’ve never stopped working their socks off and we’ve come into the season run-in in with a shout of silverware. I’m really proud of my players. They’re giving it their all and for a coach that’s great to see.”

Marcelo fitness after missing Granada match:

“He’ll be available. He had a niggle but it isn’t bothering him anymore, so he’ll be a part of the matchday group.”

In need of an Atlético slip-up:

“As ever, we just have to focus on what we can control, which is our game. What happens elsewhere is out of our hands. The main thing is to keep on getting results; we want to win the two games we have left. We’ll be up against a very good side who are doing very well and we’ll look to give it our all.”

Relationship with the dressing room:

“It’s always been about complete and utter mutual respect. Having been a player myself, I know that the players are the most important people. They need an atmosphere where they’ll feel at ease and able to perform. We respect each other, we work hard… We know where we are - at the greatest club in the world.”

Other players annoyed or disappointed the likes of Sergio Ramos and Ferland Mendy started ahead of them in Chelsea second leg:

“That’s always going to happen and I understand it. Everyone wants to play. Not just the players who are seen as bigger names. I always respect all my players, they’re the ones who battle and work hard. But the coach has a job to do and has to manage 25 players. That’s not going to change. The players who go on to become coaches are going to experience the same thing; it’s not always easy. The most important thing is to respect the players and I always have.”

What's likelier: that you're Real Madrid coach next season or the club sign Kylian Mbappé?

“I’m going to give you the same answer as always. It’s boring because I always say it, but my focus is on the games we have left. I don’t know what’s going to happen. I’m here, tomorrow we have a game and then we’ll have one more after that. Aside from that, I don’t know: anything could happen, this is Real Madrid. I draw my strength from the day to day and I don’t look beyond that. I don’t look to the past or the future; I’m all about the present.”

You said previously when discussing your future that you were going to make it easy for the club:

“Maybe you think I left [as a player in 2006 and as a coach in 2018] because I didn't want the responsibility or because things got complicated. Not at all. The only thing is that what I do, I do flat out. And a point arrives where things… Where it’s time for a change. But I mean for everyone, not just for me. For the good of the players, the club, the people… I didn’t leave because it’s easiest just to say I don’t want the responsibility, so I’ll walk away and not look back. There are times when you have to be there and others when you need a change.”