Zidane adamant Real Madrid inconsistency not down to 'attitude problem'

By Sports Desk November 27, 2020

Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane is adamant his team's inconsistency is not down to an attitude problem in the squad.

Defending LaLiga champions Madrid have been wildly erratic in 2020-21, producing some under-par performances despite also celebrating some commendable wins such as the 3-1 Clasico victory and Wednesday's Champions League triumph at Inter.

Among their more disappointing results have been home defeats to Cadiz and Shakhtar Donetsk, plus the 4-1 thrashing by Valencia prior to the international break.

They head into Saturday's clash with Deportivo Alaves on the back of a 1-1 draw at Villarreal in their previous league outing, meaning another failure to win will see them drop points in three successive LaLiga games.

Madrid have already conceded 10 goals from their first nine matches, the joint-most at this stage in 12 seasons, but Zidane is refusing to put it down to the team's collective mentality.

"It is not an attitude problem because we always want to give everything," he told reporters.

"You asked me so I have to answer, but this is football, there are a lot of factors at play in a game and sometimes you can't understand it.

"The only thing we know is that, if we do things together, we are very difficult to beat but being consistent in football is the most difficult thing to achieve and we try to work on it every day, concentrating and working on all that we can.

"We have little time to prepare, but in the end that's what we want, to do well."

It has been suggested that Madrid are nearing the end of an era, with many players approaching the end of their careers – Sergio Ramos, Marcelo, Luka Modric and Karim Benzema are already well into their 30s.

But Zidane dismissed this notion and made no pledge to bring in reinforcements in January.

"No, it's not the end of an era here. You always have to fight, be concentrated – we never stop in that sense," he added.

"There will always be changes in a squad from time to time, but the players want to compete and now we have this squad. Until when, I don't know, but we have to do it until the end of the season with the squad I have, and we don't have to change anything."

Zidane also confirmed Dani Carvajal is set for another period on the sidelines due to an adductor injury, while Karim Benzema and Sergio Ramos remain absent for the time being.

"Dani has something and we are going to do the examination now. It seemed like nothing but now it does – we'll examine him but I don't know how long he'll be out, I'm not a doctor. He has a niggle, that much is true," Zidane said.

"Karim's injury was bigger than it seemed – we have a lot of games, training, at the end a player has to be physically alright to play.

"Sergio the same – we won't rush him. The feeling with him is good, so we'll see when he returns to the team, but for the moment he is out."

Related items

  • Jovic matches Madrid tally in 28-minute Eintracht cameo Jovic matches Madrid tally in 28-minute Eintracht cameo

    It was as if he had never been away.

    Luka Jovic has endured a dismal start to his Real Madrid career but was quickly back among the goals at Eintracht Frankfurt.

    Having failed to impress in a season and a half in LaLiga following a €60million transfer from Eintracht to Madrid, Jovic headed back to Frankfurt on loan this week.

    And a second debut swiftly followed, with Jovic called from the bench after 62 minutes at home to Schalke.

    The game was all square at 1-1 at the time, with Andre Silva's first-half opener immediately cancelled out by Matthew Hoppe, the teenager whose hat-trick last week had secured Schalke's first win in 31 Bundesliga matches.

    There was to be no second straight success for the strugglers, however, as Jovic required only 10 minutes to restore Eintracht's lead, hammering Filip Kostic's cutback into the roof of the net.

    The loanee then made the points safe in stoppage time as he moved inside past Ozak Kabak to again finish right-footed and clinch a 3-1 win.

    "You can tell that the air here is good for him," sporting director Fredi Bobic told Sky Sport afterwards. "The goals were top class, the whole process. That is a great art.

    "I always get annoyed that I always have to sell the best players. Now he's back for a short time. That's what I'm most happy about."

    With just two LaLiga goals to his name, the brace meant Jovic had netted as many times in 28 minutes back in the Bundesliga as in 32 matches for Madrid in all competitions.

    The strikes came from Jovic's only two shots on Sunday, while he also completed 17 of his 18 passes in a lively display.

  • Gnabry injury not serious, confirms Bayern boss Flick Gnabry injury not serious, confirms Bayern boss Flick

    Serge Gnabry did not suffer a serious injury during Bayern Munich's 2-1 victory over Freiburg, Hansi Flick has confirmed.

    Germany international Gnabry sat out last weekend's loss to Borussia Monchengladbach with a shin problem but played 90 minutes in the shock penalty shoot-out loss to Holstein Kiel in the DFB-Pokal on Wednesday.

    He had to be replaced after 28 minutes at the Allianz Arena on Sunday but Flick is not expecting to be without the winger for a prolonged period.

    "The injury is not serious, I have heard from the doctors. The muscle in his back cramped up," said the Bayern boss.

    Bayern were leading when Gnabry departed thanks to Robert Lewandowski's 21st goal of the season, a record for the first half of a Bundesliga season, surpassing Gerd Muller's 20 in 1968-69.

    Nils Petersen equalised for Freiburg in the 62nd minute, scoring just 28 seconds after coming on as a substitute. His Bundesliga record for goals after being subbed on now stands at 28.

    But Leroy Sane, who replaced Gnabry in the first half, set up Thomas Muller - who registered his 125th top-flight assist on Lewandowski's opener - for the winner.

    Sane was also on target against Kiel and Flick has been pleased to see him improving after a tough start to life with Bayern following his move from Manchester City.

    "I don't like singling out individual players but he did very well and did things the team would like to see from him," said Flick.

    "We saw good development. He proved today that he is always good for an assist or a goal."

    With RB Leipzig having been held to a 2-2 draw by Wolfsburg on Saturday, reigning Bundesliga champions Bayern opened up a four-point lead at the summit.

    Flick said: "I'm not interested in the table at the moment. We have to look at ourselves and be focused on Augsburg and Schalke as we are today.

    "It's good to have achieved a four-point lead, that is extremely important. For us, only our results count."

  • Lewandowski takes Muller's Bundesliga record Lewandowski takes Muller's Bundesliga record

    Robert Lewandowski became the first player to hit 21 goals in the first half of a Bundesliga campaign with his opener for Bayern Munich against Freiburg.

    Gerd Muller previously held the record of 20 goals, with the Bayern great having achieved the feat in 1968-69.

    Lewandowski matched that haul on January 8, scoring in a 3-2 defeat to Borussia Monchengladbach.

    On Sunday, in Bayern's 16th league game of the 34-match campaign, the 32-year-old overtook Muller by slotting home at the culmination of a superb Bayern move in the seventh minute.

    It also brought up Lewandowski's fifth goal in his last four games against Freiburg.

    Prolific in attack, it is at the other end where Hansi Flick's Bayern side have struggled this season.

    Heading into Sunday's game at the Allianz Arena, the Bavarian side had 33 points – they last had as many points after 15 matches in 2017-18 - yet their 24 goals conceded after 15 fixtures was more than in any season since 1981-82 (25).

    Lewandowksi scored 34 times in the league last season, six shy of Muller's Bundesliga record of 40 (1971-72), but the Poland star now looks well on course to challenge that tally.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.