Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane is delighted to be gunning for Barcelona’s Spanish record of 39 games unbeaten in all competitions.
Madrid have established a new club-best under Zidane, which stands at 38 matches heading into Saturday’s LaLiga encounter with Granada at the Santiago Bernabeu.
The club last tasted defeat in the first leg of last season’s Champions League quarter-final versus Wolfsburg – a result they would ultimately turn around en route to an 11th European title.
That reverse came after they halted Barca’s 39-game streak at Camp Nou with a 2-1 triumph, where goals from Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo cancelled out Gerard Pique’s opener.
“To equal that 39-game unbeaten run is the most important thing, of course. We are trying to enjoy what we’re doing,” said Zidane, whose team are three points clear of Barcelona at the top of LaLiga with a game in hand
“The work we put in each day, how we prepare for games, hopefully we can continue winning matches.
“You want to win games, break records but I don’t do it just for the records. I do it because I want to improve and see my players improve.”
One player who appears keen to do just that is James Rodriguez.
The Colombia playmaker has often found himself on the margins during Zidane’s time in charge but he grasped the opportunity of a start versus Sevilla in the Copa del Rey in midweek by netting a brace.
James insisted after the match he would not seek a move away from Madrid and Zidane maintains he needed no convincing over the player’s talents.
“That’s James and his hard work,” he told a pre-match news conference when asked for the reason for the ex-Monaco man’s improvement.
“I’ve seen him play well though on other occasions. He scored two goals, the first goal was very important.
“I’m happy with his goals, I’m happy with the work he’s putting in and also he did well defending their attacking full-backs.
“I get enough questions on James but he’s not just the only important player. All my footballers are important to the team
“The player who plays has to play well and has to maintain hunger and, as for James and all the players, there is hard work.”
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