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Pre-Match Presser: Zidane Speaks About Leganes, Legia Warsaw, James, & More

“We know it'll be a tough match and we must be focused” - Zidane

Alberto Navarro -

In the hours leading up to the La Liga match vs. Leganes, Zinedine Zidane appeared in Real Madrid City’s media room to address the press and answer questions.

On the Upcoming Match vs. Leganes

It's another different game, but it'll be tough. Leganés are a team who move very well away from home and know how to play. We have to have maximum concentration levels and take the game seriously. We want to play a good match and give everything to make sure we're pleased with the performance. Wednesday's match is over and we're only thinking about tomorrow's game. La Liga is our day-to-day work and I hope we play a good match tomorrow.

On Madrid’s Lack of Defensive Solidity

Borussia Dortmund v Real Madrid CF - UEFA Champions League Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Bongarts/Getty Images

I don't know why we've lost our defensive solidity. That's part of football, occasionally you come up against difficult times, but I'm not concerned about it. I don't like conceding goals and the players even less so. It's a question for everyone and we can all improve. We must look, particularly myself, to play with calmness and make sure tomorrow, in our next match, that they don't score against us.

On Modric’s Return & Benzema’s Injury

He's in the squad and the plan is to give him some playing time, we'll see tomorrow. The important thing is that Modric is feeling good and has fully recovered. Benzema is out tomorrow. After the game against Legia Warszawa he felt something in his hip. We don't know what the problem is, but he's got some discomfort and we're not going to take a risk on a play with a knock.

On Being One of the 10 FIFA Nominees for Best Coach

I don't think about the trophy or the prize, but I'm proud to be on the list because it means that we're doing a good job. Right now, I have to keep showing what I can do. When you have a bad game, everyone criticises you, but neither the praise nor the criticism are going to change me. It's a tough, complicated job, but I love it and that's the main thing.

I'm here to answer questions but not to look for excuses. We have to work out on the pitch and try and make sure we don't concede tomorrow but that we get goals. That's what we're all focused on, especially the players. Sometimes a match like this does you good because we know what we're trying to do every day, this is a long-run thing and the season is very tough. I know I've got the best squad in the world but that's not enough. We have to go out on the pitch and play 90 minutes at full throttle. That's the difficult thing about this job: being consistent.

On the Draw Against Legia Warsaw

There will always be criticism. The only thing that I'm interested in, is moving on from this game and focusing on tomorrow. Sometimes everything doesn't go right after half an hour, when we played very well. It was a strange game and I've lived with criticism for more than 30 years now, so I know that's not going to change. All I can do is try to improve the team, nothing more. It's obvious we have to improve. Prior to the four draws, we played several good matches, and before this draw the same.

On James Rodríguez

RCD Espanyol v Real Madrid CF - La Liga Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

Every player is special. I try to show the group that everyone is important. James is playing less, but he's an important player. He helps us and I know he wants to play more, they all do, but I pick the team thinking about each match. Everyone is entitled to their opinion but I have no more to say about it. I hope he gets more playing time, that's all.

On the Squad’s Physical Shape

We're working well and I think we look good. Of course we can be better but it's difficult to work on things when we're playing every three days. When there is an international break and we can work, everyone goes off, but we're ok. I can't complain.

On the Criticism of His Work

I don't pick the team to make any one player happy. A play won't be happy just because he plays 10 games. I've been a player and nobody can tell me any different even if they might believe it. I would do the same thing again, but I wish we could have played like that for 90 minutes and not just 30. I can't control the criticism, I do my job and I'm focused on tomorrow's game.

On the Supposed Lack of Intensity

I'm the one responsible when things are not going according to plan. I take that responsibility and I know I have to get through to players about what their jobs are on the pitch. The players really aren't doing badly. When you ask the question, I feel as though we're performing badly, but as far as I know we're not in bad shape.

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