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Zidane: “No, I don’t have a problem with Luka Jović”

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The coach justified his tactical decisions. 

Real Sociedad v Real Madrid - La Liga Santander Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

Real Madrid started the 2020/21 season with a 0-0 draw away at Real Sociedad and with a new-look formation. Martin Ødegaard started for Real Madrid in the No.10 role of a 4-2-3-1 formation, while Casemiro didn’t feature in Zinedine Zidane’s starting XI.

After the match, the coach was asked about his tactical decisions. On Casemiro’s absence, he said: “Casemiro didn’t start the match, but it’s a one-off thing.” Then, on Ødegaard’s performance, Zidane told reporters that: “I am happy with his match. I think he’ll get it little by little. But we have to be patient with him and with everyone.”

Zidane was then asked about his decision to bring on youngsters like Marvin Park and Sergio Arribas rather than centre-forwards Luka Jović or Borja Mayoral. He replied: “I didn’t want to change the formation. So, I could have put on another centre-forward by taking one off, but I didn’t want to change the formation. I’d have had to take Benzema off, but he was playing well. By playing two centre-forwards, I would have needed to change the formation yet I wanted to keep two wingers on the wings.”

Pressed on this, Zidane was asked if he has a problem with Jović, who also hardly played last season. The coach insisted that he didn’t, saying: “We have a squad and many players and I have to choose. Today, this is how I picked things. But, I don’t have anything against any player. Like I said before, I didn’t want to change the formation.”

Finally, Zidane was asked if he considered this result as one point gained or two dropped. He explained: “We always want to win, so it’s a little bit of two points dropped. We had a few chances in the first half. I think we had a good game in defence, but we lacked something in attack. Physically we dropped off, but I think that’s normal. We only had three weeks and we only had one friendly match.”