While I was still completely beached on my sofa trying to recover from yesterday’s turkey and pumpkin pie-a-thon, the team prepared to meeting their second Sporting of the week – this time, it’s Gijon.
Castilla’s Enzo & Martin Odegaard joined the first team for the session. (Video)
Toni & Morata continued their recovery, doing some work inside and running on the pitch. Bale had treatments with the physios and club doctors indoors.
Zidane: “The game against Sporting is more complicated than people think”
by Alberto Navarro | Photographer: Helios De La Rubia
“It will be a tricky game after the other two that we had this week, where we gave our all and put everything into the games”, added the Real Madrid coach.
Zinedine Zidane spoke to the press at Real Madrid City about the LaLiga clash against Sporting. “The game will be more difficult than people think given that it comes after two huge games this week, after which everyone is a little tired. We have been regaining our energy over the last few days as we will need it”.
“The important thing is what we are doing right this season. We are going to keep on doing so, giving everything because it will be a tricky game after the other two that we have had this week, where we gave our all and put everything into the games”.
“It is difficult when there are injuries, it is a pain. Everyone does what they can in order to recover, but sometimes there is nothing you can do. We cannot control it and now we must look to keep on what we are doing. I hope Gareth has a speedy recovery. We asked all the best specialists for their opinions and they all said we have to operate. That is what we will do”.
“I know that at times you think about us changing our system because of an injury but our dynamic on the pitch is the same. We have many players who can play in many different positions and that is the great thing about this team”.
Casemiro and Pepe
“They are both doing well and have recovered, we are happy to see them doing well. They are in the squad and tomorrow we will see if they play. Casemiro is doing well, he is with us, you will have to wait to see if he features”.
“Wins are of paramount importance because this team lives for them. I know because I was a player and now I’m a coach. When we played badly they criticised us. What spurs me on is winning, I’m involved in football because I want to win. As a coach I want to win games and titles because we are lucky, we can inspire others with our wins. I know what I have to do with this team and I am very motivated. Criticism will not change my style of play nor my way or working”.
Praise for Kovacic
“He has always worked hard and proves his worth when you need him. Because of the injuries we have had he has got his opportunity. It was not easy for win because he doesn’t play much, but he has been gaining confidence little by little and he is doing well. He is an important player”.
“All of the players are ready to play, James included. If I was in his position, I would not leave Real Madrid. It is simply not true that he hardly ever plays. At this great club he will get minutes. I need to make decisions and he will get game time here. A player in his position who wants to play more, who we know is quality and brings a lot to the team but we have to make decisions and I think he is going to be very important for us. His time will come. The others are also doing well”.
Ramos, on a warning for el Clásico
“Ramos will have to play against Sporting despite the fact that he is close to getting a ban. I know that we have an important game tomorrow and we must focus on that before the game against Barcelona. I have every faith that it will go well”.
The news on Coentrão
“It was difficult with him. This is football and things happen. He is doing well, getting better all the time, but he has had issues with his adductor and he won’t be with us tomorrow. That is how football goes and sometimes you have tough moments, but Fabio was out for a long time and it is normal that he is lacking in confidence. He has been training well and it is hard luck. I would have loved to have given him some minutes tomorrow, but what he needs is time to recover. I have got a lot of faith in him. His teammates are here to help him, as am I”.
“Varane has had a few issues with his knee and we don’t want to risk it. He took a knock to the same knee that they operated on. As always we are hoping that he recovers in two or three days”.
“Everyone focuses on Benzema. In every game he has to perform and has to score. He is even more aware of this than others. He works hard for himself and for the team. There will always be unfounded criticism, but he takes it well”.
The following players were called up for the match:
Goalkeepers: Keylor Navas, Casilla and Yáñez.
Defenders: Carvajal, Pepe, Ramos, Nacho, Marcelo and Danilo.
Midfielders: James, Casemiro, Kovacic, Modric, Asensio and Isco.
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo, Benzema, Lucas Vázquez and Mariano.
And the other day, Sergio, Marcelo & Isco took “took part in an event as part of the worldwide ‘Hour of Code’ initiative, an initiative promoted by Code.org, which takes place around the world and coincides with Computer Science Education Week and looks to foster basic understanding of computer programming and IT amongst children.”