Zidane answered the press’ questions on Real Madrid’s 2nd leg contest against Atlético Madrid in the UEFA Champions League semifinals.
On the Match
We knew that we would have to dig in, particularly early on. They made a very bright start. In the final 15 minutes of the first half we started to play our game and Karim, Kroos and Isco linked up for our goal. We performed far better in the second period. We're happy to have made the final and we're proud of the boys. It's a very long road and the whole squad must be congratulated on having made the final for a second successive year.
Atlético made a very strong start, putting us under pressure and winning the second balls. They scored from a corner, in which we weren't as alert, and then from a penalty. We knew that we would have to dig in, but also that if we remained calm and patient we would get our chances. We started to play our game and found Isco between the lines, who did just he always does: hurt the opposition. On Friday we'll have to turn our attentions to Sunday's game against Sevilla.
On Facing Juventus
It'll be a special one because it's a club that also played a very important part in my career during my playing days and I see it as a club which has also given me a great deal. I'm now the coach of Real Madrid, the club of my life, and it'll be a special final. They also deserved to get through and it'll be an excellent final. Making the final for a second successive year is down to everyone's hard work. We've still got three important league games left and then we'll start thinking about the final.
On the Emotions of Reaching Two Consecutive Finals
I'm happy to have reached two consecutive finals. I'm the coach. It means that we’re doing well, but it’s the squad that’s doing extraordinarily well. Everyone deserves credit, I’ll take some of it, but it's particularly down to the squad, they are the ones who run, fight, work, suffer and do their best to achieve things. We’re all happy, but we haven’t won anything yet.
On Benzema’s Moment of Genius
We spoke at the end of the game and I asked him how he managed to get out of that corner. He wasn't too sure himself, but it helped to get us a goal.
On Isco’s Performance
He was important in our game plan today, playing between the lines with his quality. In the last 10 or 15 minutes of the first half we found our rhythm and in the second half we were better. He’s contributed a lot, as too did Karim and Cristiano Ronaldo.
On Modric’s Performance
Everyone has had a great game and Luka stands out for his calmness on the ball. He’s awesome. He never gets nervous. His experience was central to our performance. Everyone contributed in their own way.
On Bale’s Recovery
He’s recovering and there’s time for him to be ready for the final. I hope he’s ready before and I hope he can be with us more than anything. We're a better team when he plays.
As I’ve mentioned before, I quite like how straightforward Zidane is when he talks to the press. This makes it easy to match your analysis of his game plan to his intended strategy, because he always talks openly about what his team was trying to accomplish.
We started to play our game and found Isco between the lines, who did just he always does: hurt the opposition.
He was important in our game plan today, playing between the lines with his quality.
This was refreshing to hear, since it meant that those who had observed Isco to be some sort of line-breaking presence weren’t just imagining things in their head. Zidane’s key admission that his side was looking to find “Isco between the lines,” demonstrated his understanding of Atlético’s defensive prowess and the necessity of occupying key spaces on the pitch to break down a well organized block/press.