Ready For Tottenham, Leg 2

1 Nov

It’s hard to talk about football right now. My heart is heavy.

The terror attack in lower Manhattan today took place within walking distance of my office. I had just returned to the building after an appointment and heard tons of sirens but I was in a rush to get back to what I was working on so I didn’t think much of it, I mean, it’s New York, right? I knew nothing about what transpired until my phone rang and my best friend was calling from San Francisco to make sure I was okay.  The area where I work is not only very busy with workers and students, but also very popular with tourists. We’re just a stone’s throw from the World Trade Center. It was such a beautiful, crisp Fall day here, one of those days where you just want to get out and have a nice walk. It breaks my heart to know that these people were senselessly murdered. Among the dead and injured were German, Belgian, Argentinean and American citizens (from current reports), who were just out enjoying our beautiful city. My thoughts are with those lost and injured today as well as their loved ones. As someone who lived here on 9/11, this has been triggering, to say the least. I am passionate about New York and to see my city and the people within it hurt this way repeatedly is very painful. I see this as my home and my safe space. I hate that this is not the reality for everyone. It should be. Please be safe and hug your friends and family.

And now I’ll try to talk about football but it will be brief.

Travel

The team made the short trip to London (with Roberto Carlos in tow!) and are headquartered at the Hilton London Wembley hotel. (Video)

Presser

FROM REALMADRID.COM

Zidane: “Wembley is a fine stage on which to deliver a great performance”
by Javier Garcia (London)

“It’ll be a fine spectacle that will allow us to play good football, give our all and we’ll be trying to win it”, added the Whites’ boss.

Zinedine Zidane addressed the media at Wembley Stadium prior to leading his side’s final training session ahead of their game against Tottenham (Wednesday, 8:45pm CET). The Real Madrid boss offered his thoughts on the encounter and expressed his confidence in his players: “We’re in good shape. Following a defeat, people may think that we’re not in good spirits, but it’s quite the opposite. We’re in good shape fitness-wise and are ready to deliver a good performance. It’s a good stage on which to deliver a great performance against a strong side and that’s what we’ve got to look to forward to”.

“It’s a fine stage on which to put in a good display against strong opposition. We want to see a good game of football. The players enjoy these sorts of games. We’re ready to put in a good performance, it won’t be straightforward because we’re up against a great team”.

Wembley
“The players are aware of where they’re playing. It’s a very special setting in which to play football. In addition to the stadium, which represents a great deal, there will be two very good teams on show, which is really positive for football fans everywhere. I think that I played at the old Wembley and playing there gave you a great buzz. This time round I’m not lucky enough to be taking to the pitch, it’s my players’ turn”.

“I don’t think that our performance against Girona was our worst. That’s the way things go in football and when you lose there’s a reason for it. They surprised us the other day, but we needn’t give it any more thought. We now face a game in which we’ll try to play good football, give our all and attempt to win”.

Challenge to get back to winning ways
“My excitement and passion remains the same. The most important thing for me is to work hard. There are tough times over the course of a season and we’re going through one now, it’s always the way after a defeat. I like a challenge and tomorrow it’s a good game to try and win. I like it when the going gets tough and what we now want to do is get back to winning ways”.

Pochettino
“He’s doing an exceptional job. He’s doing well at a club that aspires to greater things. The results he has achieved speak for themselves. I don’t think that it’s any more difficult to play against a side that lines up with two or three central defenders”.

FROM REALMADRID.COM

Marcelo: “It’ll be an extremely tough game and a very special one to play in”
by Javier Garcia (London)

“A lot of players would like to be involved in games like this and everyone will want to watch it”, commented the Brazilian.

Marcelo took to the press conference room at Wembley Stadium to preview the side’s meeting with Tottenham, in which the Whites will be aiming to seal their passage into the last 16 of the Champions League. The Brazilian wing-back previewed the clash in the following terms: “In all of our games, not just the Champions League matches, we always try to give our all to win. Many players would like to be involved in a game like this and everyone will want to be watching it. Real Madrid have a fine legacy in the Champions League and tomorrow’s will be an extremely tough game and a special one to play in and let’s hope things work out well for us”.

“Whenever we lose or draw, we’re all down. We’ve now got a game tomorrow and we can’t be thinking about that defeat. We’ll use it to drive us on to go out and win our next game and tomorrow’s match will be very special. We’re aware of the mistakes we made in our last game and we’re going to try and we’ll be trying not to make the same errors tomorrow”.

Difference in performance levels in LaLiga and Champions League
“Perhaps it owes to the motivations levels of each individual player. It’s perfectly normal, when the Champions League games come round, I can’t put into words exactly what it is about it. To win the LaLiga title you’ve got to be motivated the whole year round. To win the league you can’t afford to drop points. It’s very tough, you’ve got games every three days and you need to perform to a very high standard, rest up and be mentally prepared to face the criticism. There’s a lot of pressure on us, but we’ve got to improve and we’ll do just that”.

“It’s not that it’s easier to get yourself up for LaLiga games, but you’re playing every three days and sometimes you become a bit relaxed. Last season there were times when that happened and we ended up scoring at the end of the games, but that’s no excuse. We need to improve that concentration, defend better and win the games. Whenever we win I also say that we need to improve. If you don’t improve each week and in every training session, you’ve had it. Right now our performances are not putting Madrid top of the pile and we’re going to be doing all we can to win all of our remaining games”.

Kane
“He’s a really great player, but Tottenham are not just all about him. He was heavily involved in the first game, as were his teammates. Tottenham need him but we can’t be thinking that without him it’ll be better for us. We need to think of them as a team because Tottenham are a really top side”.

Game in Girona
“It was down to a little bit of everything. LaLiga games are difficult to win, regardless of who you’re up against. A lot of people think that’s it’s just a case of turning up, but it’s the strongest league in the world and every game is tough. There’s no reason to panic, we’re going to improve and we’ve still got time to ensure that Madrid finish in our rightful place, which is at the top of the league. We’ll be doing all we can to get back there”.

Call Ups

The following players were called up for the match:

Goalkeepers: Casilla and Moha.
Defenders: Vallejo, Sergio Ramos, Nacho, Marcelo, Theo and Achraf.
Midfielders: Kroos, Modric, Casemiro, M. Llorente, Asensio, Isco and Ceballos.
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo, Benzema, Lucas Vázquez and Mayoral.

Training at Wembley

The team had their training session today at Wembley. This will be the first time the club has ever played there. (Video)

The ‘Peez (and Raul!) came to visit the players and staff at the session.

So let’s hope for a good match tomorrow and some much needed sanity in this world. Take good care of yourselves.

– Lozil

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