Zidane upbeat despite Madrid's loss to Man City: The tie is over 180 minutes

By Sports Desk February 26, 2020

Zinedine Zidane lamented Real Madrid's loss of concentration against Manchester City but insisted the Champions League last-16 tie is far from over following a 2-1 defeat.

Madrid collapsed at home to Pep Guardiola's City, who scored twice in five minutes late in the second half to snatch the momentum after the opening leg on Wednesday.

Winners of four of the past six Champions League titles, LaLiga giants Madrid earned a 1-0 lead courtesy of Isco on the hour-mark at the Santiago Bernabeu.

But Madrid saw their advantage crumble away as Gabriel Jesus headed in a 78th-minute equaliser before Kevin De Bruyne completed the comeback via the penalty spot five minutes later, with Sergio Ramos' late red card compounding Zidane's woes.

"We're gutted to have lost, but we know the tie is over 180 minute and no matter what happens that's the way it is," head coach Zidane told reporters. "Even if we'd won. We did the hard work scoring, and then in 10 minutes they scored two."

Madrid captain Ramos will miss the return leg in Manchester after bringing down Jesus with four minutes remaining and Zidane said: "That's football. We can't change it. We need to focus on the positives.

"In a result like that there aren't many positive things, we played well but for the last 10 or 15 minutes. Now we need to go there and win if we want to go through."

"They are mistakes and you pay when you make mistakes," Zidane continued. "That's it. But mistakes are a part of football and that's the way it is.

"We gave everything on the pitch, we lacked 10 minutes of concentration more. It was a very physical, even game and at the end we paid for it."

Madrid, who have only won one of their past five fixtures across all competitions, will travel to the Etihad Stadium to face City on March 17.

Related items

  • Napoli players rally behind grieving boss Gattuso Napoli players rally behind grieving boss Gattuso

    Napoli players showed their support for Gennaro Gattuso by holding a minute's silence on Friday as the grieving head coach returned to training.

    Gattuso is mourning after it was announced on Tuesday that his sister Francesca had died at the age of 37 following an illness.

    She had worked as a secretary with Serie A club Milan, where Gattuso spent 13 years as a player and was later head coach.

    Gattuso, 42, has been in charge of Napoli for almost six months, after succeeding Carlo Ancelotti in December.

    The bond between the coach and his players, led by skipper Lorenzo Insigne, was made clear by the players' response to Gattuso at the Castel Volturno training ground on Friday.

    "The day began with a very touching moment: the team wanted to express their closeness and make Gennaro Gattuso feel all their affection with a virtual hug," Napoli's website announced.

    "Captain Insigne and the whole team observed a minute of recollection in memory of the Azzurro coach's sister before the start of training."

  • Coronavirus: Serie A to allow five substitutions Coronavirus: Serie A to allow five substitutions

    Serie A will allow teams to make five substitutions during games for the remainder of the 2019-20 campaign.

    It brings Italy's top flight into line with a temporary law amendment announced by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) last month.

    World football's pre-eminent rule-making body made the alterations as a means to ease the strain on players returning to action following the extended coronavirus hiatus.

    If a team wishes to make all five changes, they must come in no more than three match interruptions, aside from half-time.

    Serie A is set to resume on June 20, more than three months after the league was suspended due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

  • Solskjaer impressed with spirit as Man United try 'new ideas' ahead of resumption Solskjaer impressed with spirit as Man United try 'new ideas' ahead of resumption

    Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been implementing "new ideas" in Manchester United's training and the manager is impressed with the team's spirit as training intensity is ramped up ahead of the Premier League's resumption.

    United will get their 2019-20 campaign back underway in two weeks' time at Tottenham, more than three months after their most recent match – the 5-0 Europa League win at LASK on March 12.

    Prior to the coronavirus-enforced hiatus, United had hit a strong run of form, enjoying an 11-match unbeaten streak across all competitions, including Premier League wins over Chelsea and Manchester City.  

    That resurgence was in spite of injuries to key players Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba, both of whom are expected to be available again when the season recommences.

    And with Pogba yet to play alongside new signing Bruno Fernandes, United fans are understandably excited at the prospect, and Solskjaer confirmed the team has been working on fresh "ideas" in training.

    "Training has been about recapping what we did well, tweaking maybe one or two things and looking at some new ideas," he told United's official website. "But hopefully we can see a lot of what we saw towards the end before the lockdown.

    "We've got games coming weekend, midweek, weekend for a spell, so you have to focus on ourselves and not just on that one, first game.

    "We've been looking forward to these games for ages really. It does make it feel like, 'Yes, we're here soon'. The first game is two weeks from today [Friday], so we need to step up the training and get an edge to our game again.

    "Everyone knows that we will have to be at our best, have to be focused [against Tottenham]. We know it's a big game for everyone. We had Chelsea when we started the league this season, so I'm confident that our players can go into the Tottenham game with that mentality of going there to play a very good game of football."

    While the coronavirus suspension prevented players from training together for nearly three months, Solskjaer was thrilled to see they have managed to keep themselves fit, and he believes the competitive edge is beginning to shine through now contact training is allowed.

    "In any interview, I'd say, 'Yes the mood is great and the spirit's good' but it has been really good," Solskjaer continued.

    "I think everyone can see over the last few months how the players have behaved and dealt with the situation and how we as a club have dealt with it. The players have kept themselves fit as well, which has been great.

    "The weather was fantastic when they got going in small groups and gradually now, as we've got into contact training, you can see a little bit more of the edge but also the camaraderie and team bonding.

    "That's vital for me in a team. That's one of the main things, that we are a team and the team goes before anything else."

    United are fifth in the Premier League, three points behind fourth-placed Chelsea and two ahead of Wolves and Sheffield United, as the tussle for the final Champions League spot looks set to go to the wire.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.