All eyes were on Zinedine Zidane on Saturday morning as the Real Madrid manager held a press conference to preview Sunday’s El Clásico against historic rivals Barcelona. The Boss sat down in front of the media to discuss the fascinating encounter, which could be a season-defining fixture, and answered questions about the current situation, the lack of goals, his decision to drop Kroos against City & more.
Here, you can read a full transcript of the manager’s press conference:
“The formula for the Clásico head, heart and togetherness. Everyone here is extremely motivated. It’s going to be a beautiful football match and we’ve got a great opportunity to put on a good display. We’ll give it all we’ve got to win it. Anything can happen in a game against such good opposition, but the important thing is how we react and we’ll have to play how we did for 78 minutes against Manchester City. Every game is important for us. There are three points to play for and we’re aware it’s a different game to the rest. We’re at home and we’ll give it everything we’ve got. After this, there are 12 games left and we’ll keep fighting with everything we have. We have the chance to be involved in these kinds of games and we have to enjoy it. This is football and we’ll have to stick together and be focused on tomorrow’s game.”
“When we drop points there’s talk that we’re weaker, but I don’t feel that’s the case. We have to look forward and change the situation, so that’s what we’re going to do. We’re in a delicate spell, but that’s all. This is a great chance to change the dynamic. I’m not thinking about what happens if we lose. I’m positive and I want my players to go for the win.”
“I’m not worried because we were winning games for four months without Hazard. It’s not about that. The most important thing is to maintain our solidity and then we know we can get goals.”
“It’s a delicate spell because we’ve not won in three at home but we know these things can happen. We have to have a positive mentality to get through this and we’ll do it together. We need our people behind us from the first minute until the last. I can understand the fans might be frustrated, annoyed, but we need them and they need the team.
“We’re going to give it our all on the pitch tomorrow. You never know how things will go in football. We’re at a difficult juncture after four months without losing a game. We have to stay positive and we’ve got a chance to change things tomorrow.”
“Whenever there’s a bad result, you’ll always look for something. Kroos always plays, and he didn’t the other day. These things happen and we didn’t lose the game because Kroos didn’t play. It was a choice the other day, that was all. We don’t need to look for more in it. He’s doing a great job and will continue to do so. I have lots of midfielders and I have to make choices.”
“Sometimes he’ll be in the squad, sometimes he won’t because I have 25 players here.”
“Everyone can criticise, that’s what you do. You do your job and I understand it. Having lost two games, I knew there’d be criticism but I have to keep fighting with my players because they’re the best there are. It’s a delicate time and we’re going to give it our all.”
DOES YOUR JOB DEPEND ON WINNING A TROPHY?
“You’ll have to ask someone else that question. The important thing is to keep going and we’ll try our best to win something. Only one team can win a competition and we’ll keep going to the end.”
BARCELONA & MESSI
“We know how important Messi is to his team, of course. He’s a key player for them but they’re a good unit. We’re focused on what we’re going to do and we’re aware we’re up against a very good side. Braithwaite is a good player and he’s just come into a team full of other great footballers.”