The team finished their final training before meeting Granada tomorrow.
Everyone was available with the exception of Pepe & Gareth who are still working on their recovery. (Video)
Zidane: “We’ve got the belief, and we’re going to keep fighting for the La Liga title right up until the end”
by Alberto Navarro | Photographer: Helios de la Rubia
“Granada will be up for it, but we can’t afford to be dropping any more points”, added the Real Madrid coach.
Zinedine Zidane spoke to the media gathered inside the press room at Real Madrid City on the eve of the La Liga clash against Granada (Sunday, 8:30pm CET). In his preview of the game against the Andalusians, the Whites’ coach spoke of how: “We’ve got the belief, and we’re going to keep fighting for the La Liga title right up until the end. They’re going to come at us from the off, and we must be ready for that. The key to the game is to be ready from the first minute. With the quality in our side, if we get off to a good start and open the scoring it makes it all so much easier”.
“Granada have a lot to play for, and with it being an away game it’s always tough because our opponents will be up for it, knowing that they’re playing against Real Madrid. The only thing that we’ve got to concentrate on is getting off to a good start, and we must put in a different performance to the one we delivered against Betis. We can’t afford to be dropping any more points, and tomorrow only a win will do for us. The players know what they have to go out there and do. We’ve prepared well for the game during this week”.
La Liga or the Champions League
“We’re going all out to win everything. Tomorrow it’s a La Liga game, and we’ll have plenty of time to think about the Champions League later. We’re only focussing on winning this La Liga game. We all believe that we can win La Liga, and in particular the players do. They’re aware of the situation, and know just how tough it’ll be, but they’re also aware that we can turn things around, and we’re going to keep going until the end, until such a time as it is mathematically impossible”.
“We feel that we’re ready to tackle everything that lies ahead. But of course we’ve actually got to go out and play the games. We’re going to be playing every three days, and we’re ready for that. We’ve worked very hard for these three weeks and now we have two weeks in which to regain some of our freshness”.
Praise for Cristiano Ronaldo
“I admire him, for the goals he scores and for everything that he’s achieving. I particularly like just how ambitious he is, that he’s always wanting to better himself, we can see that from him in the way he trains. I admire him and I hope that he continues in the same vein because he is a very important player for me, for the team and for the Real Madrid fans”.
“Perhaps he’ll go on to play for longer than I did. I’m sure that he will do. He’s 31 years old, but physically he’s in great shape. He’ll be able to carry on playing for many years and I hope these are spent here at Real Madrid”.
“My aim is win every game and to be competitive, so that we can win something come to the end of the season.”
“I’m happy with how things are going, but we’ve got to keep it up. My aim is win every game, to be competitive and play well in each match so that we can win something come the end of the season. That’s the only thing that me and my players are bothered about”.
First month at the helm
“I don’t think that I’ve introduced anything special. I’ve only tried to give them my take on things, and let them know what I expect from them. They’re top professionals, and they’ve made it easy for me. Something needed to be done, although they were performing well prior to my appointment. I get along very well with all of them. This is vital for a coach, and it’s the most important aspect. We’ve got to keep on going, we all only want to win, and when you pull on the Real Madrid shirt, winning is the only thing that counts”.
“I’m very happy with how he’s performing. We’ve had a very good relationship for a long time now, and he trusts me a lot. I know just what he can bring to the team, he’s committed, and gets on well with his teammates, and that’s important for a coach”.
The way the team is set up
“The idea is to play good football and to have good ball possession. The best way to regain possession is to apply pressure and not let your opponents have the ball”.
“We’ve opted to slow things down a bit because our thinking at this stage is that he should be improving but that he shouldn’t have made a fully recovery as yet. It’s better for things to be done properly and to take it steady”.
“That’s his style as a player, there are some people who like it, and others who don’t. When you do too many tricks, it’s to be expected that your opponent will get angry, but in terms of entertainment value, it’s great that people can enjoy the performances of these type of players”.
The following players were called up for the match:
Goalkeepers: Keylor Navas, Casilla and Yáñez.
Defenders: Varane, Ramos, Nacho, Marcelo, Carvajal and Arbeloa.
Midfielders: Kroos, James, Casemiro, Kovacic, Modric and Isco.
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo, Benzema, Lucas Vázquez and Jesé.
And the mothership gave us a reminder the awesome goal James made against Granada last season.
Wouldn’t mind seeing him score another one like that tomorrow!