Zidane bridles at pre-season Atleti thrashing as El Derbi looms

By Dom Farrell 27 September 2019 5
Zidane bridles at pre-season Atleti thrashing as El Derbi looms

Zinedine Zidane responded in prickly fashion when Real Madrid's pre-season 7-3 thrashing at the hands of Atletico Madrid was brought up on the eve of Saturday's LaLiga Derbi at the Wanda Metropolitano.

Madrid were put to the sword in New Jersey in a match where Zidane felt his side "lacked everything, especially intensity".

The result has not proved entirely instructive over the opening weeks of the season.

Los Blancos have not always convinced but are undefeated in LaLiga and top of the table after six matches.

Diego Simeone's Atletico are only a point behind in third but needed a 2-0 win at Mallorca in midweek to snap a run of three winless games in all competitions.

Speaking at a pre-match news conference, Zidane was asked whether Madrid's ordeal at the MetLife Stadium would have any influence upon the weekend, he replied: "It's nothing to do with the game really, no. We just have a game tomorrow and we're going to try and win"

He then interrupted a follow-up question by saying, "no, I'm going to say the same thing", before claiming not to have watched the match back to analyse Madrid's mistakes.

Despite their solid start in LaLiga, a 3-0 defeat at Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League suggested Zidane's close-season worries about intensity could still undermine Madrid against elite opposition.

Nevertheless, he insisted he would head across Spain's capital without concerns.

"No, no, I'm not worried about anything," he said.

"We just want to put in a good performance, that's it. We know how tough the game is going to be.

"We're going to have to do a lot of things during the game. It's not just about intensity."

Teenage forward Rodrygo Goes will play for Madrid's second-string Castilla side at the weekend despite scoring on his LaLiga debut against Osasuna, although Zidane could welcome back midfielders Luka Modric and Isco following muscular injuries.

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Dom Farrell