Thursday, October 1, 2020

Madrid players can ´disconnect´ ahead of Champions League, says Zidane

SoccerNews in La Liga 19 Jul 2020

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Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane says his players will “disconnect” as they prepare for the resumption of the Champions League next month.

Los Blancos, who secured a first LaLiga title since 2017 this week, travel to the Etihad Stadium on August 7 looking to overturn a 2-1 first-leg defeat in their quarter-final against Manchester City.

Speaking after Madrid wrapped up their domestic campaign with a 2-2 draw against Leganes on Sunday – a result that condemned their neighbours to relegation – Zidane says his players will be allowed some time to relax, but is adamant the next few weeks will not be a holiday.

“It is not a holiday that we have now,” he said. “Now, I don’t think about City. We want to disconnect a bit, then we will have all the time to think. We will have 10-15 days to think. We will disconnect.

“Until the last second we are going to fight to go to that final, but now you don’t have to think about the Champions League. It is time to rest and think about gathering strength. The final stretch has been a tremendous effort. Now we all need some relaxation. This is what we are going to do.

“After these four or five days off, we go back and think about the Champions League. No stress or worries.”

Madrid were far from their best against Leganes but Zidane refused to be too critical of his players. 

“During the game you can get angry because we didn’t play at our level,” he said. “We didn’t win but we didn’t lose either. In the end I prefer to focus on what we did before today. The season has been spectacular. We have to be happy with what we did.”

During an emotional TV interview after the final whistle, Leganes captain Unai Bustinza said he was proud of his team-mates’ willingness to fight until the end.

“We’re all so upset and frustrated and can’t believe this,” he said as Leganes’ four-year stay in the top flight came to an end. “We kept going right until the end and we never let our heads drop. We wanted to do everybody proud. Football can do this to you.

“It’s been a difficult year and we haven’t had a great deal of luck. Everyone will be upset but we have to lift ourselves back up and come back strongly.”

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