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Zidane: Barca and Atletico still in the driving seat

Zinedine Zidane insists Real Madrid are capable of claiming a Liga and Champions League double, but warned the capital club still have it all to do in a thrilling title race.

Liga champions Barcelona were cantering towards the defence of their title, but a shock drop in form has seen Luis Enrique’s men lose three consecutive league matches to blow the race wide open.

Second-placed Atletico Madrid are now only behind Barca courtesy of an inferior head-to-head record, while Zidane’s men – who, like their city rivals, also have a Champions League semi-final to prepare for – are just a point adrift.

After losing the derby 1-0 to Atleti in February, Zidane claimed that it was not possible for Madrid to win the title but since then they have won seven straight league matches.

Zidane believes Barca and Atleti are still in the driving seat, but challenged his team to win their remaining five matches to give themselves the best possible chance of a first league title since 2012.

“It’s being said that we are going to win everything, and I don’t like it at all. We haven’t won any title at all yet,” Zidane said ahead of Wednesday’s contest against Villarreal at the Santiago Bernabeu.

“We are capable to win both titles, but it doesn’t mean anything. We will fight until the last minute and I assure you we will work until the end.

“I think that Barcelona and Atletico can win every game. If we win every game, but Barcelona do it too, we won’t be the champions.

“I have always said that we must first move ahead of Atletico. They [Barca] are now tied with Atletico.”

Zidane had little interest in discussing Barca’s slump, which also included a Champions League quarter-final exit to Atleti, choosing instead to focus on Madrid’s ambitions.

“I’m not thinking about that. I think more about what we have to do,” he said.

“There are always difficult moments in the season, but that does not mean anything because they are still first. We must continue with the belief we can do something.

“I do not know when I changed my perception [on the title race], but when we lost to Atleti that day it became more complicated.”

Tue 19 Apr, 2016
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