Zidane gives Madrid pep talk
MADRID, Spain (AP):
Zinedine Zidane is hoping his words will help put Real Madrid back on track. Zidane had a longer than usual talk with his players before training yesterday, saying it's his responsibility to keep them motivated despite the team's struggles in the Spanish league.
"Sometimes a talk is necessary," Zidane said. "I'm not giving a speech just to give a speech.
"I'm not happy with the situation," he said. "We can improve in all areas. All I can do is keep working hard and keep giving my best. And it's the same regarding my players. I have to try to get each one of them to give a little bit more."
Madrid are coming off a 2-2 draw at Celta Vigo, a result that left the defending champions 16 points behind Spanish league leaders Barcelona near the competition's halfway point. Madrid have a game in hand, but have never been able to overcome this big of a gap and win the title.
The weekend setback, coming in their first league game since the demoralising 3-0 home loss to Barcelona last year, reignited talks of a crisis at the Spanish giant.
"You can analyse it any way you want it, saying it is a crisis or whatever, but we are here to find solutions," Zidane said. "The talk was longer than usual, but that's it.
"I'm not going to point fingers at one or two people," he said. "It's everybody's fault, beginning with me as the coach."
Zidane made his comments a day before Madrid host second-division club Numancia to defend a 3-0 first-leg win in the round of 16 of the Copa del Rey.
Madrid easily made it to the round of 16 of the Champions League, where they will face Paris Saint-Germain, beginning with a home game on February 14.