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Real Madrid need to be single-minded in approaching the Juventus game

The biggest enemy against the Italians will be complacency

Juventus v Real Madrid - UEFA Champions League Quarter Final Leg One Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

The biggest threat to Real Madrid in tomorrow night’s Champions League match isn’t Juventus as a team, it’s more likely to be complacency.

And before Zinedine Zidane blows his top at the very thought of this affecting his team in the return leg at the Bernabéu, I don’t think for one minute that he won’t already have addressed this in private!

Zidane’s whole approach to managing Madrid to date has been thoroughly professional and single-minded; so there’s no reason for us to suspect it will be any different on Wednesday.

They say that games are won or lost in your head; and Zidane for sure will be emphasising this to the players long before the kick-off time.

That said, it won’t be Zidane who actually takes the field against one of his former clubs.

And we all know that the whole issue of complacency is one that can affect players subconsciously.

Prime examples of this are usually when sides are faced with opposition from the lower divisions and / or teams that you would normally be expected to easily brush aside.

But since Juventus fall into neither of those two categories, Real Madrid’s players will need to stay focussed.

No doubt Zidane will be pressing home the importance of making a good start to the game. This means leaving the Italians in no doubt whatsoever that they’re going to have their work cut out on the night if they are to reverse the three-goal deficit from the first leg in Turin a week ago.

Massimiliano Allegri thinks that it’s still possible for Juventus to turn the tie around; and if he can translate his own confidence and self-belief to his players then the visitors will come to the Bernabéu in a positive frame of mind.

That, as everyone knows, can sometimes make all the difference.

However, there’s no doubt that Zidane will be stressing to his own players that this is exactly what the Italian coach will be saying to his team in the hours leading up to the game.

Part of Real’s approach to the second leg this quarter-final tie on Wednesday night will be to start the game strongly in order to make the Italians chase the game instead of controlling it.

With the away goals rule, it wouldn’t be beyond Juventus’ capabilities to put Real Madrid under a bit of pressure if they can get an early score.

So Zidane, therefore, will be doing his best to emphasise to his players that the best thing that can happen is to stretch the lead to four but without being silly about it and having players charging about all over the place.

It will be a night for disciplined football. Juventus will be doing their best to disrupt Real’s pattern of play from the opening minutes, and perhaps it will be how both teams adapt to that early period that defines how the game flows thereafter.

In the same way that complacency can subconsciously have an effect, so too can the urge to throw caution to the wind knowing that you have a three goal lead and that if the other side manage to pull one back then you’re still two goals ahead!

Without Sergio Ramos’ presence in the Madrid defence, Massimiliano Allegri will be hoping to exploit whatever defensive combination Zinedine Zidane goes for on the night.

There’s no doubt that Juventus will come at Madrid from the word go. Allegri believes his team can still get a result even though the odds are against this; and as we speak, he’s likely to be telling his players exactly that and emphasising at the same time that Juventus have little to lose.

The approach from the Madrid dressing room will once again be of controlled unity. The players are clearly united behind Zidane in a way that few would have imagined at the start of the season when thing weren’t going so well and the crowd were restless.

But Zidane’s faith in the players under him has been repaid so far both in terms of results and by performances on the field. Solid performances that is, without any hint of complacency present.

The latter shouldn’t be evident on Wednesday either; and as Zidane will be stressing, this is a game that Real Madrid need to play sensibly.

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