Well, I’m a bit hoarse from from yelling at the presidential debate on TV so I’ll make this brief. The team traveled to Germany in preparation for meeting Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League tomorrow.
The following players made the trip to Dortmund:
Goalkeepers: Keylor Navas, Casilla and Yáñez.
Defenders: Carvajal, Pepe, Ramos, Varane, Nacho, Danilo and Coentrão.
Midfielders: Kroos, James, Kovacic, Modric, Asensio and Isco.
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo, Benzema, Bale, Lucas Vázquez, Mariano and Morata.
Training at Signal Iduna Park
Zidane: “We always go out to win and that’ll be no different against Borussia”
by Javier Garcia | Photographer: Helios De La Rubia
“We know where we’re playing and who we’re up against, but we’re Madrid”, declared the Whites’ coach in his press conference.
Zinedine Zidane took to the media room at Signal Iduna Park on the eve of the Borussia Dortmund clash (Tuesday, 8:45pm CEST), as the Whites’ coach spoke of what will be the key areas in his side’s quest to claim three points: “We’re giving a good account of ourselves wherever we go. We always go out to win our games and that won’t change. We know who we’re coming up against and where we’re playing, but we’re Madrid. We always go out to win”.
“I shalln’t be changing the system. I ‘m not thinking about what has happened in the games played at this ground in the past. Each game is different and it’ll be a tough game, just like they all are. We’ll be trying to play our game, like we always do. All that I hope is that it’s a good spectacle”.
Type of game
“It’ll be a hard-fought game. Borussia are a fine footballing side. They’re a youthful team who have had some changes, but their approach remains the same. We like to play good football and that’s what we’ll be doing”.
“Everything’s as normal. He’s not the only one who gets angry. Whenever they are brought off, all of the players may well be angry. Our focus is on tomorrow’s game. I took the decision in the interest of the player and that’s that. The fact that all of this is receiving more attention than the game itself is just the way things are. We have to deal with that and we’re relaxed about it. I’m not daft and he’s intelligent. We’re both here for the same thing and not to talk about other stuff”.
Keylor or Casilla
“You’ll find out tomorrow, I can’t answer that one. I speak to them from time to time and they know my thoughts on it. I can’t tell you what I say to them. The important thing is that they’re both ready and that I can call on them and Rubén too. I have to make the decision and they’re relaxed about it”.
Doubts following two draws?
“No, these things happen. The important thing is that we know what we’re trying to do and what we have to work on to achieve success. The team is in good shape. Nobody likes to drop four points in two games, but such is football. Sometimes it’s not a bad thing at all that the squad are given a warning, as we continue on with our work”.
“Of course we could be doing things better. When we get the chances, I’d like us to score more goals. Defensively, we’ve conceded two goals and that’s something we can address. It’s everyone’s responsibility and it’s not just down to the defenders. Particularly when you’re in control of the game, as we were on Saturday. You can never say that a game is completely under control. We just need a bit more concentration and that’s it”.
Casemiro and Makelele
“I’m not a fan of comparisons myself. Casemiro is a key player. We don’t have any control over injuries. I hope that he recovers soon. We’ve got good players to get through this though. In his position perhaps we haven’t, but we’ve got other types of players in there”.
BBC and squad rotation
“Anything can happen. I’ve got a theory on rotations. When you need a player in a given game and that player hasn’t been playing, they can’t possibly be in good shape. In contrast, if you give them all some playing time, you can call on all of them and they’ll be ready. It’s important to rotate the squad. I’m not daft and I’m not trying to come up with something new here. Every match I’ll be fielding the best possible team to win the game”.
Cover for Casemiro and Marcelo
“We had Marcos Llorente at the start of the season and he was someone who could have come in for Casemiro. However, we made a decision that it’d be good for him to go out and get 30-40 games under his belt this season. In place of Marcelo we’ve got Coentrão who’s in good shape and is part of the squad. Nacho has also filled in there. Keylor and Coentrão are ready to play 90 minutes”.
“We are always able to change our system, even during the games. The system itself can also be adapted. It all depends on what we’re looking to do out on the pitch. The system isn’t the most important thing, it’s all about the players and them feeling comfortable regardless of the position they play in”.
Kroos: “Borussia represent a big test for us, but we’ve just got to play our game”
by Javier Garcia | Photographers: Helios De La Rubia and Antonio Villalba
“They’re playing well and are scoring a lot of goals, although that shalln’t affect our plans”, added the German midfielder.
Toni Kroos took his place alongside Zinedine Zidane to address the media on the eve of tomorrow’s clash against Borussia Dortmund. The midfielder had the following to say ahead of the encounter at Signal Iduna Park: “Dortmund are playing very well and are scoring a lot of goals. But that won’t affect our plans much. In every match we try to go out and play our game, we don’t want to concede, but tomorrow’s will be a tough game”.
“They’ve got a very good coach, who has a clear approach. The important thing is for us to have an answer. They’ll play very aggressively at home and will try to play on the front foot, that’s their style. I hope that we manage to stop them and that we’re successful. Dortmund represent a good test for us, in this stadium, with this atmosphere and given the quality of the stage we’re playing on. I’m in no doubt that we’re in really good shape”.
“I see it as being perfectly normal, it’s one of those where more is made of it than it really was. It’s normal that these things happen and I’m used to it. It’s virtually impossible for a player to put in 60 good performances over the course of a season. The coach is the one who decides who plays the full game and who comes off early. Cristiano is back in with the team as always and he’s ready”.
“Casemiro is a key player in this team. He offers us a lot and brings something that we didn’t have before. The way I play doesn’t change all that much when he’s not on the field. I try to get on the ball and take up the positions in defence that he usually covers”.
“We’ve been beaten by Schalke and Wolfsburg and yet have gone on to win the Champions League. Meetings between Spanish and German sides have served up some high-quality encounters. Alongside England’s, these are the best leagues around. I think that today Spanish football is a notch ahead”.
Atmosphere inside the ground
“A few years ago, Real Madrid played here and our players don’t need to be told a great deal about the atmosphere at Dortmund. I’ve also played here. We know what it’s all about and are aware that it’s a tough place to come. People in Spain follow German football and we know that they’re the second best team in the country”.
“The fitness side of things is very important. I had a very short pre-season this time round. Introducing something new is always good for the team. Zidane wanted to bring Pintus in and we’ll see the impact of that in April and May. We finished very strongly last season and we now want to be in good shape for tomorrow’s game”.