There’s almost no rest for Real Madrid as they’re back in LaLiga action against Real Betis on Saturday night, taking on a team who have caused them problems in the recent past. On this weekend’s challenge, Zinedine Zidane said in his pre-match press conference that: “We’ve recovered well. We’re facing a very good team, a very solid team and a team that plays football very well. We’re prepared to play a good game and to keep up our good form. Until the end of the season, we’ll have tough matches so we need to play 90 minutes at a very high level. They’ve had good results against us recently, so we’ll have to play well.”
Asked about the difficulty of winning back-to-back league titles, something Real Madrid haven’t managed since 2007 and 2008, Zidane said: “That has always been difficult. I’ve said many times that the Spanish league is very competitive. For me, it’s one of the very best leagues. But, we’ll try.”
Several academy players have been used in the past few matches and Zidane was also asked about them and about what they need to do to stay in his plans, replying: “The players just need to work hard. Each of those who have come out of the academy before, like Lucas Vázquez or Nacho, they’ve made it with a lot of work and by always being prepared.”
Zidane also provided an injury update, explaining that Sergio Ramos, Toni Kroos and Ferland Mendy won’t be ready to return against Real Betis and that Luka Modrić and Eden Hazard are ready. “So, there’s some good news and some bad news,” he said.
When it was put to him that the squad might not have been properly prepared for this season, he replied: “We don’t have a small squad. We have a very good one. We’ve had problems with injuries and COVID-19 so it has been a strange season, but we can’t complain. Others have had it worse.”
Finally, there was some Super League talk. Zidane was asked how he thinks Florentino Pérez is after a tough week and replied: “As the president, what he wants is simply for us to focus on tomorrow’s match.”
Then, on the rumours about Real Madrid being disqualified from this year’s Champions League and on the potential for biased refereeing, the coach said: “We have the right to play in the Champions League. It’s illogical and absurd [that we might be disqualified]. No, I don’t have any worries [about the refereeing]. We’ll play our semi-final, as is our right.”