My lazy ass has been off celebrating my birthday for several days but I’m back to work now. The team headed off to Lisbon where they will face Sporting CP in the Champions League.
The first team (and the young’uns who are participating in the UEFA Youth League) headed off to Portugal today. (Video)
The team is headquartered at the Pestana Palace Hotel.
Zidane: “We have to be prepared for a very tough game”
by Alberto Navarro (Lisbon)
“To win the game we’ll have to give our all, as always, and make a strong start”, added the Whites’ coach.
Zinedine Zidane took to the media room at the José Alvalade stadium on the eve of the game against Sporting CP, as the Real Madrid coach previewed the Champions League Matchday 5 group-stage fixture: “We weren’t surprised in the first game against Sporting CP. They put in a great performance and we were made to work for the win. Tomorrow it’ll be just as difficult and they’re going to look to make life tough for us. The important thing is that we’re ready for a very tough game”.
“Each game is different and I hope that we go out tomorrow and play well right from the first minute until the last and that we win. Having won a lot of games doesn’t mean anything. They’ll make it tough for us, their supporters will make it difficult and it’s a tricky ground. The only thing I’m bothered about is being ready and that we work hard from start to finish”.
System in the derby
“When I send my team out I do so to try and win that particular game. We study the opposition and they also look at us. According to the information we gather, we do certain things defensively and others in attacking areas. I believe that I’ve got the best players and setting them up in one particular way or another doesn’t alter anything. Against Atlético it was the first time we’d operated with that system, but our idea is for everyone to give their all and that’s all there is to it”.
“Everyone can think what they want, but the important thing for us as a team is to believe that nobody is going to make our lives easy. We’re aware of how tough each game is going to be and having beaten Atlético doesn’t mean we’ll win tomorrow. We’ll have to give our all, make a strong start and if we do that we’ll get something out of the game, but I’m expecting a really, really tough game”.
Praise for Cristiano Ronaldo
“That’s what he’s all about. You might look at him and think that he’s not having a good game, yet at any moment he can hurt you. The shape that he’s in means that he’s capable of doing the same things in the 90th minute as he does in the first minute. At any given moment he can stick three goals past you. We’re really spoilt and the last time he hit a hat-trick was less than a month ago against Alavés”.
“The three of them are the best players on account of what they’ve done. However, the most important thing for me is the group and what each of the players is able to offer the team. They’ll get more game time than the rest of the squad, but the others will also get their share of minutes”.
“Real Madrid is Real Madrid. Since I’ve been in the dugout things have gone a little better, but I know how things work and when you start drawing two or three games, things get tough. The important thing is to look for things to improve on, regardless of whether you’ve won the derby or if you draw three on the bounce. I won’t be getting ahead of myself on account of the derby win. We’ve got to take things step by step and try to win some silverware. We know that it’s going to be very tough and that we’ll need to work very hard”.
Better to qualify as group runners-up?
“I don’t think about the maths. When you’re at Real Madrid you just focus on doing everything to win the games and on nothing else. There’ll be time to look at the table later on. Tomorrow we’ll be doing everything to win. We shan’t be doing any maths”.
Keylor Navas: “We’ll have to be organised and make the most of our strengths”
by Alberto Navarro (Lisbon)
“I see the team as being in good shape, we’re compact and are optimistic ahead of this important game”, declared the custodian.
Keylor Navas spoke to the media with just over 24 hours to go before Real Madrid take on Sporting CP at the José Alvalade stadium (Tuesday, 8:45pm CET). The Real Madrid goalkeeper offered his thoughts on tomorrow night’s opponents: “The first game against them was tough. They’ve got some very pacey players in wide areas and if we lose our shape, they’re capable of causing us problems. In the middle of the park they’ve got some technical players who are great at playing the final ball. The important thing is to be organised and make the most of our strengths”.
“I give thanks to God that I’m feeling good and am fit to play. I see the team as being in good shape, we’re compact, very united and that’ll see us go on and achieve positive results. We’re optimistic ahead of this important game”.
“It’s special for him to be returning to this stadium. As far as I’m concerned he’s just as he always is. He always works with the same intensity and I think that this game is important for him on an emotional level and he’ll go out and perform professionally with the same intensity as always. He’ll be giving his all, just like he always does”.
“As a squad we’re working really well, but we know that the most important thing is to win and continue to make progress, which is what we’ll need to do to win silverware. We must keep on working hard, just as we have been up until now, and the success will follow”.
Nominated as the best goalkeeper of the year by UEFA
“It’s a source of great motivation to be up alongside some great goalkeepers. I take things in my stride and know that I must continue on in the same vein. It’s always good when your work is recognised, but I have to keep on improving. I’m proud and regardless of what happens, I’ll give my all and my mindset won’t change. I’ll be giving 100%”.
His compatriot Bryan Ruiz
“I get along well with Bryan. Tomorrow we’ll be playing on opposite sides and we must be wary of Sporting CP because they’ve got quality in their ranks and are capable of making life tough for us. We mustn’t make any mistakes”.
Bale on the left flank
“He started his career out on the left wing and he was a great player in that position. He’s capable of playing in many roles and given his shooting ability, he can also play on the right. We’ll have to see where he lines up tomorrow, but he played really well in the derby and sent in some dangerous crosses and did well on the third goals. We know that he’s got a lot to give in that position”.
Isco’s great display in the derby
“His position is the number 10 role and that’s where he’s most comfortable, but he’s capable of playing anywhere on the pitch. He’s doing a superb job”.
Ramos & Benzema
“We’ll see tomorrow whether they play. The full squad is here, barring the injured players and they’re all ready”.
“He had a great game and I’m sure that it’ll be the same tomorrow. He’s a top player and playing against Real Madrid will drive him on even more. That’s to be expected, but tomorrow we’ll be trying to ensure that he doesn’t perform as well as he did in the first game”.
The following players were called up for the match:
Goalkeepers: Keylor Navas, Casilla and Yáñez.
Defenders: Carvajal, Ramos, Varane, Nacho, Marcelo, Coentrão and Danilo.
Midfielders: James, Kovacic, Modric, Asensio and Isco.
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo, Bale, Benzema, Lucas Vázquez and Mariano.
The team had a training session at José Alvalade stadium.
I’m looking forward to the match!