The team finished their final training before tomorrow’s match at Espanyol.
Cris is out with the flu and Gareth trained away from the group. (Video)
Zidane: “My idea is that all of the players feel important”
by Alberto Navarro
“The game against Espanyol will be difficult but we are prepared”, added the Real Madrid coach.
Zinedine Zidane spoke to the press at Real Madrid City ahead of the team’s LaLiga game against Espanyol (Sunday, 8:45 CEST). The Whites’ coach analysed the game against the Catalan side, saying: “I have a great squad and we are going to need all of the players. We are going to be playing against strong opposition. We know that, we know it will be complicated, difficult, at a great stadium. We have had a great week. we know that there are a lot of games, we have rested up an we’re ready for tomorrow”.
“Cristiano will not be travelling with us as he has a sore throat. He will be staying in Madrid. He is simply not ready, we won’t be taking risks with anyone and least of all with him”.
“Gareth took a big knock to the hip so we won’t be risking him. The players all want to play, but we’re playing every three days, we have a lot of games, and we can’t risk such an important player. This is a group, so they are all key components, and when someone has an issue it is better for someone else to play. We always think with a group mentality”.
“First I speak to the player concerned. That is my idea and when you play every three days you have to do that. I want Bale to be 150% ready for Wednesday and if he were to pick up another knock tomorrow we’d lose him for at least 10 days. I’d rather he was fit for Wednesday”.
“We always try to make rotations, so that everyone feels important and they feel like they can play at any moment. You will always need all of the players and I’m lucky to have a great squad, with important players. They all have to play and that is my idea. We will be playing 60 games and back when I played it was 30 or 35. We will need everyone ready in order to achieve our aims”.
Record number of wins in a row in LaLiga
“It is exciting and we want to keep improving on what we’re doing. We have the opportunity to get another three points, which for me is the vital aspect. I am the coach of this team and I’m not working alone. We are a team and the people who work with me are highly important. We do everything we can to make sure Real Madrid keep winning”.
“I am hugely proud of my players because they play every three days and they always put in a good performance. I am satisfied and proud of them. There are a lot of people working at this club and they all bring their own special touch to the club”.
“Yes, I am a lucky coach, but I’m not just lucky as a manger but in general because I’ve been able to play football for a living. I’ve been fortunate to live such a life and to play for Real Madrid. There is no greater team. But a lot of what we do revolves around hard work. Those of us working here want to improve every single day. We never down tools until the work is done and we are very happy”.
BBC a certainty?
“If I have Cristiano Ronaldo, Bale and Benzema at 100% the idea is that they play together, but that doesn’t mean that the three of them will always play. If they are at 100% for a game then they will play, but as we have a lot of games to play and the players down the pecking order do well, I have to give them a chance”.
“He is training well and will play a lot. He is an important player for the team and that is that. I think he is doing well, just as he did last year. He looks focussed and he wants to play, as they all do. I’m certain he will get some minutes and will give the team what he has to offer”.
Casilla and Navas’ recovery
“I don’t know how long Keylor has left in terms of recovering. He is getting better every day and today he looks better than ever. He is doing well. I can’t tell you exactly when he will be back, but I hope it will be soon. As far as Casilla is concerned, I’m happy because he is doing well, better every day. We knew we would be able to count on him and he is playing like a number 1, he’s phenomenal”.
“We will see what happens tomorrow. He is doing well and he made his first start the other day. He is getting better each day and we will see the line-up tomorrow”.
Praise for Varane
“He is working hard and I’m happy and satisfied with his season. We know that he has to improve, he is capable of that and he will do so. Whenever he plays he plays well. He is getting better and better and I’m happy with his work”.
The following players were called up for the match:
Goalkeepers: Casilla, Rubén Yáñez and Craninx.
Defenders: Carvajal, Pepe, Ramos, Varane, Marcelo and Danilo.
Midfielders: Kroos, James, Casemiro, Kovacic, Modric, Asensio and Isco.
Forwards: Benzema, Lucas Vázquez and Morata.
And tomorrow at Espanyol, we’ll see a former Blanco: DLo is between the sticks there now.