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Post-Match Press Conference: UEFA Champions League 2016/17, Napoli 1 - 3 Real Madrid

Zidane wasn’t impressed with the 1st half, but was encouraged by what he saw in the 2nd.

SSC Napoli v Real Madrid CF - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: Second Leg Photo by Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images

Zinedine Zidane reflected on Real Madrid’s victory over Napoli and their performance in a difficult round of 16 match.

On Real Madrid’s Performance

We were made to suffer a lot in the first half, particularly in the early stages, when we weren't doing what we wanted to and they were applying a very high press. We improved things after the break and performed a lot better. We spent more time in their half and pressed higher up the field. We're pleased with how we've performed in the tie.

We're capable of doing better than we did in the first half and we'll have to do so. Coming here and being put under the pressure that they put us under, we knew that we might struggle. The game is played over 90 minutes and we did very well in the second half. We can't be happy with the first-half display, but have to pleased with our second-half performance, in which we got the three goals.

On His Half-Time Talk

We discussed the same things as we always do at half-time. You have to change things if the opposition are causing your problems in the first half.

We had to push a bit higher up and be more compact. We scored twice from set-pieces, but they're part of the game as well. We had a lot of opportunities to score, in the first half too. We’re pleased to have Sergio here, every now and then he comes up with a goal with his head.

On the BBC’s Defensive Contribution

Gareth helped Dani in the defensive aspects, as did Cristiano. It’s all about the whole team, we didn’t start well in the first half. We did a good job in the second. We’re a group and Gareth and Cristiano helped us a lot.

It is nice to see that Zidane recognizes that Madrid were very poor in the first half and that changes were needed to Real’s approach and structure. What is specifically encouraging is his acknowledgement that Los Blancos needed to implement a high press in place of a deep block and that severe compactness issues needed to be solved.

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