Arevitalising 3-1 win away to Real Sociedad has Real Madrid back on song for their upcoming clash with Real Betis, and coach Zinedine Zidane now wants to see his players pressurise their opponents for the whole match.
While the scoreline was eventually comfortable at Estadio Anoeta, Los Blancos had to endure a tough spell around the hosts’ equalising goal before Borja Mayoral and Gareth Bale took home the points.
“[Intensity] is what I always want to see as a coach,” Zidane insisted to the assembled press. “And the players also want it.
“Against Betis we are going to try that, to be push hard for the entire 90 minutes. We think long and hard about our intensity, because if we achieve it, we hurt any opponent.”
With Cristiano Ronaldo back from his five-match suspension for pushing a referee and getting sent off, his coach was keen to forget the past and focus on the positives around the winger’s presence in the side.
“We will not discuss the suspension, we are glad that he is back and I hope that to be the last time we had to do without him,” noted Zidane.
“I see that Cristiano is happy, because what he likes is to play and to be with his teammates. He’s coming back for a league game at home and we know everyone likes to play in this stadium.”
Former Real Betis player Dani Ceballos is yet to make an impact at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, but Zidane called for patience as the Spaniard’s old club come to town.
“[Ceballos] can play in various positions, that’s the good thing about him,” he added. “He does not have technical difficulties in playing with the ball and he’s smart enough to play in various positions.
“We are at the beginning of the season and it will be very long. Dani is working very well. The other day he played little, but at least he played.
“He’ll have his opportunity to play and to do well.”
Batting back his own personal critics on the weekend was Gareth Bale, a clear favourite of Zidane’s who described the Welshman as a ‘complete player’.
“I think it’s not incorrect to say that when there is space, [Bale] can do damage, because of the speed he has,” stated the Frenchman.
“We saw that with his goal the other day. But, Gareth is also very good technically.
“He can also play without space, he handles himself well there. It does not hurt him to play with the ball and to bring others into play.
“For me he is a complete player.”
Finally, Zidane was asked for an update on his own contract situation following Dani Carvajal’s two-year extension over the weekend.
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