clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Real Madrid can't and shouldn't rotate squad against Valencia

There’s still a league to be won so it’s back to routine business for Real Madrid this week.

David Ramos/Getty Images

It's easy amongst all the hype about the Champions League to forget that there are still two matches of the league season left.  After all the talk about the second leg of the Manchester City fixture and the fitness worries over Karim Benzema and Casemiro  - we didn't see that one coming  -€”  the league can easily be pushed to one side as the build up to Milan begins.

However, it's no less important to get maximum points in these last two fixtures in order to keep the pressure up on Atlético and Barça.

Zinedine Zidane is going to be looking at his options for these remaining two games; beginning with this weekend's home game against Valencia.  It would be understandable if the Madrid coach came right out and said "La Liga is over; let's concentrate on the Champions League instead" but he hasn't.  Nor is he likely to.  With the unpredictability of results at this stage in the season you need to keep going, try to pick up the two wins required and hope that Barça and Atlético slip up.

Both clubs ahead of Madrid are still going to be looking over their shoulder.  Most people thought that Real would be lucky to take a point against Real Sociedad in San Sebastián last Saturday but instead Madrid came away from Anoeta with a victory.

With all the games kicking off simultaneously this weekend everyone is going to have to concentrate 100% on their own game instead of starting the match knowing how their two main rivals might have fared if they'd played earlier.  With information being so easily accessible nowadays through social media the scores will be fed through to the players on the pitch anyway; and if not from the bench then anything relevant will be passed on by the supporters!

The other games on Sunday are interesting and could potentially prove to be disruptive to Real's rivals.  Atlético are away to Levante; who certainly aren't going to put out the red carpet for Simeone et al; while Barça host Espanyol in what could well turn out to be a bitterly-contested derby if their earlier Copa del Rey clash is anything to go by.

Surprises are always on the cards at this time of the year.

The big question for Zinedine Zidane will be who to pick as his starting eleven.  Despite all the talk of rotations in recent weeks he might find that there isn't a lot of choice.  The starting eleven against Manchester City could potentially open against Valencia depending on how well everybody has recovered and provided those who finished the game limping have responded to treatment.  In a game Real need to win, Zidane might not have much of an option to experiment.

We wait to see whether the "100% and fully-fit" Cristiano Ronaldo will start against Valencia or if he'll be rested; or sitting on the bench as a precaution unless (or until) needed.  Cristiano always maintained he would be fit to face City and he was right after all.  Whether there was ever a real doubt only time will tell; and it turned out to be Karim instead who didn't make it into the squad.

Once again Real aren't saying too much about the injury situation other than the minimal required and maybe that's not a bad thing.  Even though secrets are difficult to keep in Madrid about anything to do with injuries, the club are again keeping the finer details to a minimum.

Hopefully all the knocks from the City game will have been dealt with by now, and with any other doubts for the weekend going largely unreported, Zidane will already be focussed on his line-up for Sunday.

Keeping one eye on the Champions League means he cannot afford to take any chances where injuries are concerned.

In effect Zidane is going to have to get two games out of everyone available for Saturday's match provided further injuries don't limit his choices for the final league game away to Deportivo.  From a tactical aspect he obviously needs to field the side best capable of winning both games; but at the same time keeping one eye on the 28th May in terms of rest and recovery thereafter.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Managing Madrid Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Real Madrid news from Managing Madrid