Zidane on the game against Elche, Hazard, contract extensions & more
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Zinedine Zidane held another virtual press conference earlier today to preview Wednesday night’s LaLiga matchday 16 clash against newly promoted side Elche (21:30 CET). The boss began the media briefing by talking about the opposition, provided an update on Eden Hazard, and was asked about a range of questions, including the contract extensions of some players, and also about Marcelo and Isco’s situation at the club.

Here’s the full transcript of Zidane’s pre-Elche press conference:

ELCHE:

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“Elche are a good team who play some great football. They’ll be tough opposition at home and it won’t be easy. We have to put in a good performance and be at our best if we want to pick up the points. We have to do a good job as a team.”

THE MATCH:

“The team is in good shape and we’re happy to be back playing again after a few days’ rest. It’s the final game of the year and we want to continue with what we’ve been doing at what is a tough place to go against a newly promoted side who are doing a pretty good job. It certainly won’t be easy and we’ll have to keep working hard. We have to show what we’re capable of for the full 90 minutes.”

HAZARD:

“Eden will be available tomorrow and we’d like him to just play a little bit. The other day we decided against it but we want him to play tomorrow because he’s been back with the team for a while and we want to take advantage of Eden’s football.”

THE SQUAD:

“The players are all training well and that’s great news for a coach. They’re extremely professional and disciplined. They’re all switched on and they’ll get their chance to play. The team is in good shape and we’re going to try and keep it up. I have faith in all of my players and I can’t control what goes on outside. They’re all extremely focused and training brilliantly. That’s the important thing.

“I’m the coach and I pick the line-up along with my staff. The players are not involved with that, they just want to win games. There’s a risk of injury when we’re playing every three days and we’ve had some like any other team. We have the best professionals here and we are guided by what they tell us. We’re never going to risk a player doing more damage but there is the threat of these things happening with the amount of games we’ve got. We’re going well from a physical point of view.”

HIS VIRTUESES AS A COACH:

“I’m passionate about football. I played for 18 years and now I coach. I’d focus on my passion for the game.”

CONTRACT EXTENSIONS:

“I have the best players here and I want things to get sorted out quickly because it’s in everyone’s best interests.”

MARCELO & ISCO:

“I feel their pain when they don’t play because they are footballers, and they want to play just like everyone else. They’ve both done so much here and it’s a tough situation but it’s the worst part of being a coach. It’s my responsibility and that won’t change until my final day. It’s a difficult spell.”

ASSESSMENT OF 2020:

“We’re happy and feel grateful to be able to play football because there are people who are having a terrible time with the virus. I think about them a lot and let’s hope this becomes just a bad memory and everything starts getting better soon. On a sporting level we’ll try and keep doing the best we can. We’ve got another long, tough year ahead.”

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