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Zidane: “El Clásico is a special match where we can prove ourselves”

Also confirmed that Sergio Ramos is ready to play.

Real Madrid v Shakhtar Donetsk - UEFA Champions League Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

Zinedine Zidane spoke to the media the day before El Clásico against Barcelona at the Camp Nou, offering a message of optimism following the back-to-back defeats against Cádiz and Shakhtar Donetsk. The coach explained that this match will be a good chance for his team to prove themselves and called for his players to start the game well.

Previewing the game, Zidane said: “We have this match tomorrow and it’s important for us to start it well. We didn’t start the Shakhtar Donetsk game well and we couldn’t turn it around when we went a goal down. We struggled against a team that then defended well. There are good and bad moments in football. We want to prepare well for tomorrow’s match. Even though it’s a different kind of match, we need to remember what happened in the last match. It’s a special match where we can prove ourselves. It’s a chance to change our image, from a bad performance to a good performance.”

Asked about the mood around the club following a tough week, Zidane was asked if there is unity and if he feels backed by Florentino Pérez. “Yes, I’ve felt backed by everyone,” he said. “I’m with the players and will be with them to the death. They’re the ones that run and fight. I want us to be together and change the negative to a positive.”

The coach’s job security was brought up too, but he pointed that he has been questioned before. He replied: “That’s what they say, I won’t deny that. But it was the same last season, it was the same during my first spell here. I just have to give 100 percent and do my work.”

Asked for his thoughts on Barcelona and the new project under Ronald Koeman, Zidane didn’t go into much detail. He said: “They’re always strong. Each coach has different things, but Barça is always Barça. They know how to play football well and they can always make things difficult for you. It’ll be difficult, but that’s good for us to have a game like this. Despite the situation surrounding the match and the empty stadium, I think it’ll be a great match.”

Finally, Zidane confirmed that Sergio Ramos has recovered from his injury. On Ramos, Zidane said: “He is our captain and our leader. We don’t take risks with injuries, but Sergio is ready to be with us. We need our players to be 100 percent and I think he is.”