On the eve of the first clasico of the season in La Liga against FC Barcelona, Zinedine Zidane appears weakened at the head of Real Madrid. Beaten this week at home in the Champions League by Shakhtar Donetsk and defeated last weekend by the promoted Cadiz, the French coach is under fire from critics.
“Worse every day” for the Madrid daily Marca, “Ridiculous” according to the Catalan Sport and “A nightmare before the clasico” for Mundo Deportivo. The Spanish newspapers have not been kind in recent days with Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane, after the humiliating defeat suffered at home, Wednesday, October 21, for the first match of the Champions League against Shakhtar Donetsk (2 -3).
“When we play a bad game, we are not immune to being criticized, to think that we are going to be released. The reality is this: when there is a lost match , obviously, we say that we will change everything, “admitted the former French international on Friday, on the eve of the first clasico of the season against FC Barcelona.
“It has always been like that. History does not change. Us, that does not make us change. What must make us change is to say to ourselves that tomorrow (Saturday), we have an opportunity to make a big game, and we are preparing for that, to change things. The rest, that will never change, “he insisted.
Two consecutive defeats
After this setback in the Champions League and a first defeat in La Liga, last Saturday, against the promoted Cadiz at home (0-1), the coach is more than ever under pressure, before facing his great rival from Barcelona. The wrongs identified during these two consecutive defeats are manifold. First, the defense. Pierced by the Andalusians on Saturday, the wall of the White House, practically impassable in the last eleven La Liga matches, completely collapsed on Wednesday. In thirteen minutes (29th, 33rd, 42nd), she conceded three goals, as many as in her first nine post-confinement matches.
In the absence of defender Sergio Ramos, hit in a knee, the defense was lost. Raphaël Varane, who scored a goal against his own camp (33rd), and Eder Militao greatly facilitated the goal of the 3-0 by their hazardous positioning (42nd), and Marcelo chained a catastrophic second match after Cadiz. Only Ferland Mendy, solid in his duels, swift and present in attack, has survived a little. In front, the animation is not at best either. Mute against Cadiz, the attackers were also ineffective on Wednesday. Karim Benzema, whom Zidane wanted to save, had to enter the break to try to save the White House, but was not decisive.
“I don’t live in the past”
Zidane, who assumed he was “responsible” for these two setbacks, repeated Friday that he must “find the solution”: “I have always been critical of myself, it is the engine to improve. (…) After a defeat, as a coach, most of the criticism is for me, and that’s normal “. “But I don’t live in the past (…) Tomorrow is a perfect scenario to change our image. There are difficult times, but this is where the big print and the quality players reveal themselves. “, he assured.
For this clasico, which will be played for the first time in history behind closed doors because of the pandemic, Zidane will be able to count on his captain Sergio Ramos, who trained again with the group on Friday. “Sergio is our captain, our leader. We are not going to take any risks. He has recovered, he will be with us. We have to be 100%, and I believe Sergio is,” he said insisted.
Now is not the time for panic. Last year, Real Madrid, after a difficult start to the season and in particular a 3-0 defeat on the ground of PSG in C1, had chained 21 matches without losing between the end of October and February. But against Barcelona on Saturday, Zinedine Zidane’s men will certainly go revealing.