We’re already wondering who’s going to start the game again Sevilla on Sunday; and with the immediate attention now turning to La Liga business, whoever Zidane picks to start against the Andalucían side will need to show self-discipline like never before.
Injuries permitting, the smart money looks to be on Zidane not straying too far from those who faced Atlético; with each member of the first-team squad likely to see action between now and Cardiff.
This is the time for Zidane to make cold and harsh decisions. As if he’s not been doing so anyway for the last six months, he’ll need to be single-minded. We could well see some unhappy faces on Real’s bench in the next ten days as Zidane looks to seal the league title.
It’s a time for being ruthless; and no doubt he’s prepared to field the team he feels is best suited to take on Real’s next three opponents.
Such is the forward thinking Zidane shows when it comes to team selection, he may well have the three potential line-ups in his head already.
The latest test of Real Madrid’s discipline as a team will come this Sunday.
With Sevilla being first-up before Real travel to Celta Vigo and then Málaga, the similarities between this game and the Atlético game at the Calderón are evident judging by previous encounters this season.
All have been nasty, bad-tempered affairs and there’s little to suggest that Sunday’s game will be any different.
Sevilla coach Jorge Sampaoli is every bit as passionate on the side-lines as Diego Simeone; but differs in the sense that he thinks nothing of having a go at his own players and winding them up as well whereas Simeone tends to focus his attention on the opposition.
Sampaoli’s already wound up the red half of Sevilla over the Argentina job; something that hasn’t gone down too well with the club either for that matter.
Whether that has any effect on Sunday’s outcome is debateable but unlikely; since the battle lines with Real were drawn in January when the two sides met in the Copa del Rey and continued into the league game a few days later.
On that occasion Sergio Ramos became the main target of abuse from a large section of the Sevilla support and comments were made that hurt Sergio deeply. Sometimes that can be difficult to forget.
We’re anticipating more of the same on Sunday, but equally expecting Sergio to rise above it all.
Passionate he may be but at this stage of the season he’s unlikely to be suckered into giving the referee no option other than to bring out the red card; although he’ll no doubt be targeted on the field with the expectation that he’ll lose his discipline.
It’s not going to be the occasion for taking chances; either with the referee by giving him the chance to wave the cards or with the opposition players by being drawn into potential situations that could lead to him doing so.
They say that you prepare yourself all season long to win trophies in the final three weeks; and that’s the stage we’re at with now with Zidane about to emphasise how his (earlier) highly-criticised approach is undoubtedly paying off in terms of results.
If beating Atlético was all about not allowing complacency to dominate the thinking, then taking three points from the Sevilla game will be all about showing the calm and controlled self-discipline that’s needed throughout the whole ninety minutes; irrespective of who starts and who finishes.