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Zidane: “If we have to play in Lisbon we’ll play in Lisbon, if we have to play in Manchester we’ll play in Manchester”

The coach reflected on the Champions League format news and previewed the Valencia game. 

Real Madrid CF v SD Eibar SAD - La Liga Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

UEFA have announced their plans for finishing the 2019/20 Champions League and this was a major talking point in Zinedine Zidane’s press conference on Thursday evening. Matches from the quarter-finals onwards will be held as one-off matches in Lisbon, but it is not yet known what will happen with the second legs of the last 16 ties that are yet to be completed.

Asked about this and about where he’d prefer to have the second leg of Real Madrid’s tie against Manchester City, Zidane said: “Everything is going to be special from now to the end of the season, the same with the Champions League. We don’t yet know about the return leg vs Manchester City. If we have to play in Lisbon then we’ll play in Lisbon. If we have to play in Manchester then we’ll play in Manchester. For now, our only focus is on tomorrow’s game, though.”

Looking onwards to Thursday night’s LaLiga Santander match at home to Valencia, Zidane hoped his side would play as well as they did in the first half against Eibar. Zidane explained: “A really good team is coming and they’re going to make it difficult for us. We’ll try to have a good game and continue with the good things we did the other day. We’ve had matches where we start well and score a few goals. I think sometimes we find it difficult to keep it up for the whole game after starting well with two or three goals. We know the strength that we have. We have quality to start well and to solve a game as quickly as possible.”

It was reported in the Spanish media this week that Zidane scolded his players after the Eibar match, but the coach would not get into that. “What happens in the dressing room stays there, whether I’m happy or not,” he said. “All I can say is that I was happier with the first half. And that’s all.”

This was one of the latest press conferences Zidane has had, starting at 20:15 ahead of a 21:30 training session. Zidane explained the reasoning for the late session: “We’re going to play the next four games at 22:00, so I though it was important to train at roughly that time. I don’t know if we’ll do it again, but It was important to have at least one session at this time. We’re just happy to play football, so I’m not thinking about if it’s a disadvantage compared to Barcelona to be playing at this late time.”

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