Zidane on Real Sociedad, Hazard, Ødegaard and more: transcript
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Zinedine Zidane was back in front of the media on Wednesday as he looked ahead to our Copa del Rey quarter-final clash with Real Sociedad at the Santiago Bernabéu (Thursday, 19:00 CET). Our head coach was asked about a range of subjects, including Barcelona’s crisis, Hazard’s involvement, Mbappé’s incident with Tuchel, Ødegaard’s return and more.

See what he said in our full transcript below:

TOMORROW’S MATCH

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“It’s a final, not a quarter-final. We have to be focussed, concentrated and involved in the match from the start. It’s a single-leg game and they’re not going to give anything away. We’re up against a great team that plays very good football and is going to come and do things right. We are good and happy, but this is a long season. We haven’t won anything, and we have to continue in the same way. You can be happy when you have won something, but we’ve not won anything. I’m only working on this match, which is the next one and it’s coming now.”

PHYSICAL IMPROVEMENT

“The team is doing very well physically and it’s all because of the work we’re doing. We play every three days and we always have to show that we’re doing well and that we want more.”

DRESSING ROOM MANAGEMENT

“What I do and say I must carry out. I have 25 very good players and I want them all to play and bring things to the team. At some point they all have to show and feel that they’re important until the end of the season. That’s my philosophy because there are so many games. It’s not possible to play with few players, besides they have to play with the national team. Physically they can endure it, but the complicated thing is the mental rest.”

HAZARD’S INVOLVEMENT TOMORROW

“You’ll see if he’s called up. We’re happy to have him for a long time. He’s had a bad injury and now he’s slowly getting better.”

VINICIUS JR.

“I’m happy with all my players. He’s young, he has quality and he has to work hard. I’m happy with him, he has my trust. Even if a player doesn’t get called up, he has my confidence. The 25 in the squad have it, but only 11 can play from the start. The injured player and the one who isn’t called up both worry me.”

HIS SUBS CHANGING THE DERBY

“The players are the ones who win and change things because they’re the ones on the field. When I made the double change in the derby, I didn’t do it to single out the players, it’s my job. In the first half things didn’t go the way we wanted them to. The players play and have to compete every three days. That’s not easy. Every now and then we get into trouble and we have to get through it. It’s the players who fight out on the field.”

VARANE

“He’s a player who gets better every day and every season. He is proving that he has been in this dressing room for more than ten years now. When he arrived he wasn’t under pressure and now you can see he’s an important player. I’m not surprised about him.”

JOVIĆ

“I’m trying to help him get comfortable in the team. He’s been here five months and it may be difficult for him, but within the adjustment process it’s normal what’s happening to him. Patience, hard work and more hard work.”

VALVERDE

“He has to get better at everything. He is very young and he is showing that he has a place at Real Madrid. He has to improve like everyone else until the end of his career. He is very good and we are happy to have him with us.”

ØDEGAARD

“I like Ødegaard. I don’t think about the future. He’s our player and we’re happy with the way he’s playing for Real Sociedad. Tomorrow he will be on the opposite team and will try to do well for Real Sociedad. We must think about our own game and what we are going to do.”

REPETITIVE QUESTIONS

“If you ask me about my team, I’ll always answer. I don’t prepare for press conferences. Sometimes they tell me something they could ask me but in the end it’s always the same.”

BARCELONA

“I’m not going to comment on another team. They’re a team that’s going to compete until the end of the season. The good ones are always good. We’re not going to take advantage of Barcelona’s rivalry because they have no weaknesses, they are a competitive team and they’re going to do well from now until the end of the season. We don’t think about that for a minute.”

MBAPPÉ

“I’m not going to comment on other teams, I’ve got enough on with mine. I’m not here to have an opinion on what other people do. Everyone does their job and I do mine. Anything can happen in football because the players are not happy when they come off the field, but these are normal situations. You have to be as fair as possible and that’s it.”

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