Tuesday , April 23 2024

Zidane: Atletico can do us some damage

Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane is under no illusions that Champions League finalists Atletico Madrid are able to attack dangerously and do damage, as well as defend as a solid unit.

The two clubs face off in Milan at the weekend, having finished merely two points shy of each other during a fierce La Liga campaign.

The Frenchman spoke at a Media Day at his club, with the only topic on the agenda being that of Los Blancos’ upcoming final.

“It will be a failure if we don’t give our best,” explained the ex-Castilla boss.

“We know that in a final, it is important to prepare well, because anything can happen, so we know what we have to do.”

Zidane also spoke on the possibility of injuries and certain players having an effect on the clash in Italy.

“Cristiano is 100% fit, there is not going to be a problem with that.

“On Saturday, we had a little match and he didn’t play as a precaution, but he is ready for the final and is prepared for the game.

“We are coming into it physically prepared, in good shape as we have to be, but it doesn’t mean anything.

“James and Arbeloa are a little better, the only injury that is serious is Varane’s.

“Casemiro is an important player, he didn’t feature at the start under me, but he was working to try and win himself a starting place.

“This is what he has done, he has been important for the balance of the team.”

Complete team

Regarding the contest itself, Zidane has no doubt that Atletico offer more than just a solid rearguard action.

“I don’t believe that having possession will be enough.

“This is a game in which anything can happen, it will be difficult and complicated, we have said that they can defend very well and that it is difficult to score goals against them, but they are a complete team.

“They can play well themselves and cause us problems when doing it.”

Having lifted a Champions League trophy himself as a player, Zidane knows all about pressure.

“The job is always the same, the pressure is always the same.

“It is part of the job and I like it, I have been a player and that too had pressure of its own.

“It is difficult to know if we are in better condition [than in Lisbon], but we intend to be better on Saturday.

“The season has been good, the work put in has been phenomenal, I don’t want to compare it because I don’t like to do that.

Good form

“We are in good form, we are prepared to approach this final, because when the referee blows the first whistle it is 50-50 and until the very last minute you have to battle.

“I know the feeling already, I am going to approach the final in the manner we know we have to,” reasoned the Real Madrid boss.

On the topic of rival boss Simeone, the derby between the two clubs, and whether winning a double or the Champions League trophy would be best for him, Zidane was clear.

“He [Simeone] has all that it takes to be a coach, and above all he knows his players really well.

“Atletico or not, to lose a final is difficult, but I am not thinking about this, I am preparing for the game and we are doing all that we can.

“We have a good team and we are doing well.

“It is Tuesday and I would like to be closer to the game itself, we want to all play together… although, well, I can’t anymore.

Improvements

“I have a lot to learn as a coach, but the excitement that I am feeling is tremendous.

“I am going to make improvements, I am convinced of this, but I think I have a lot to offer to be an important coach.

“What we have ahead of us is the Champions League, we don’t have the Copa del Rey nor La Liga – I am thinking only about our match.

When asked whether he would trade all of his trophies as a player for a win on Saturday, Zidane had a definitive answer too.

“No… what am I going to change?

“I have what I have, what is set to come will be better for everyone, myself included.

“Nobody is going to take away what I have won.”

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