It’s refreshing because often coaches are happy enough to target either the medical staff or the fitness people when results go against them, and in that respect, it’s well done to the coach for his realistic appraisal.
Of course he wishes he had a full squad to take to Galatasaray in this week’s Champions League tie. But to his credit, at least Zidane doesn’t believe in getting his excuses in early in case Real come away from Istanbul with a bad result.
He would have been much happier with Luka Modrić and Gareth Bale in the squad for the Galatasaray match but neither are available so that’s that.
It was noticeable that there were few complaints from the coach when Madrid were sitting at the top of the league a couple of weeks ago; so it wouldn’t make sense for him to start now.
Zidane rightly points out that all clubs have injuries and that’s something that just has to be dealt with.
It’s just a shame that up until the international games the weekend before last things had actually been looking up for Real Madrid on the injury front!
Players who had been out for a while were gradually improving; and the squad reaped the benefits of having more fit players around Valdebebas in the last couple of weeks than during the usual international breaks.
Despite the longer-term injuries to Nacho and Marco Asensio, Marcelo was expected to return to the team at Mallorca following a hamstring injury - which he did - and that Toni Kroos wasn’t expected to be out of the side for too long.
But there’s always a down side to football and it showed last week when Lucas Vázquez missed training with some discomfort in a calf muscle; putting Zidane’s plans to rotate a few players in Mallorca under examination.
Toni Kroos wasn’t expected to be available and although Zidane stuck to his guns and rested Dani Carvajal, Eden Hazard didn’t play either due to being given a few days off after becoming a father once again.
So the final team selection at Mallorca was based on Zidane trying to think ahead and hopefully ensure that most of the fit players would still be fit come today.
As always, though, it only takes a single defeat to set things off again. Now Zidane’s job is in jeopardy, we read, and that’s not all.
Cristiano should never have been allowed to leave. The situation with Gareth Bale is a mystery; and of course this time the president really has spoken to Jose Mourinho.
But on the brighter side, Toni Kroos has travelled with the squad to Turkey although he might not play in Istanbul. I’m always a bit sceptical when players appear to recover ahead of schedule, as has been reported with Toni; but if he’s genuinely fit then all well and good.
Again, on a positive note, Marcelo appeared to come through the Mallorca game unscathed, and of course Thibaut Courtois retained his place in the Madrid goal after a short period of illlness.
Still on the positives, Dani Carvajal and Eden Hazard will play. Karim Benzema thrives on the big occasions and of course Sergio Ramos will be there, as passionate and committed as ever.
So it’s not all doom and gloom. We know that Galatasaray will lay on the usual ‘welcome’ for Real Madrid but none of that is likely to faze Zidane and co. They’re used to warm welcomes up and down the country just as Zidane is used to dealing with the rumour mill.
He’s also used to dealing with injuries as are most of his coaching peers. The difference is that he’s not going to moan about it. All clubs have injuries, and as Zidane rightly points out, they simply have to deal with them.
It’s just that Real’s injuries tend to be more scrutinised than others. Zidane, though, is too long in the tooth to be making a fuss over something that often can’t be controlled. Injuries happen.