Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane refused to spill the secrets of the dressing room but admitted his team are desperate to make up for their Copa del Rey exit.
A 4-3 defeat to Real Sociedad saw Madrid slump at the quarter-final stage on Thursday, with the fact it came in front of their own fans at the Santiago Bernabeu making the exit all the more uncomfortable.
The chance to quickly put the loss to the back of their minds arrives in Pamplona on Sunday when LaLiga’s leaders tackle Osasuna.
When asked about the mood in the Madrid camp, Zidane, whose team were unbeaten in 21 games before their cup blow, was giving little away.
“What goes on in the locker room stays there,” he said. “We’ve analysed the game. We’re not happy with the outcome, but luckily there’s another game just three days later and now we’re focusing on that game.
“It’s not the end of the world. There’s been lots of good work until now.”
Madrid began the weekend three points ahead of bitter rivals Barcelona, who suffered their own cup misery at the hands of Athletic Bilbao.
Mid-table Osasuna have been blighted by draws this season, with 10 of their 22 matches ending level, but Madrid got the better of them in September when goals from Vinicius Jr and Rodrygo Goes secured a 2-0 home victory.
— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadriden) February 8, 2020
“The last 20, 21 games, I’ve been saying we’ve yet to win anything,” Zidane said. “What we have to do is fight, battle away until the end of the season.
“We’ve got a game on Sunday and another game after that, and it’s going to be non-stop. The players have plenty of self-belief.
“I was a player. I know what it’s like to be in their shoes. It’s not easy to be playing every three days and to play your best football in each and every game.
“We played against a team who played very well, never stopped running. No team had run more against us this season.
“We’ll get more games like this coming up, no doubt. I’m always going to defend my players.”
Zidane made a host of changes for the cup clash but looks set to restore his strongest available side for the Osasuna game.
“There’s going to be movement, rotation. I have my way of doing things and I can make mistakes,” he said, “But I’m confident in my players and we have to praise Real Sociedad for how they played.
“I have decisions I need to make and I’m the man responsible here and that won’t change.”
Zidane added: “We know what game to expect on Sunday. It’s another tough game and I always say the same but it’s a tough team, a tough ground and they’ve been doing things very well this season.
“We know what kind of game and opponents we’re going to face. It’s going to be a tough 90 minutes and we have to give our all. It’s another final for us.”
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