Zidane on Real Madrid’s ‘difficult’ week ahead as season draws to close

Madrid, Jul 12 (efe-epa).- Real Madrid are facing their “most difficult” week in the league season with three key games in the title race in the next seven days, manager Zinedine Zidane said Sunday.

The busy schedule for Real Madrid kicks off Monday evening with a date in Granada.

They will then play Villareal at home before ending the year at Leganes next Sunday. They need to win just two games to ensure the title.

“It’s the last week, with three games, it’s surely going to be the most difficult because it’s the end of the season but it’s also the most important for us,” the Frenchman told a press conference.

“We want a good game against Granada, putting all our energy into it without thinking about the games later in the week,” he added.

“I don’t think there will be too much stress, some nerves are necessary, that’s what helps us win games. What we like is to train and play. It’s a great week to play, starting with Granada, which is the most important game.”

Real Madrid are first place in LaLiga, a point ahead of Barcelona with a game in hand but Zidane insisted he wasn’t thinking about calculations nor resting on knowledge that, technically, they have room for error compared to their Catalan rivals.

He praised the recent performances of Thibaut Courtois, who has kept a clean sheet in the last five games.

“We all think the same, we are a team and have to have a balance of attack and defense. I’m happy for Thibaut and for the team in general. Letting in such few goals shows we’re doing something right.”

When it came to the team sheet for the Granada tie and whether Eden Hazard, who has recently suffered from pains in his ankle that required surgery in March, would feature, Zidane didn’t give much away.

“We’ll see tomorrow but Eden is with us and that’s the most impressive thing, to have players available.

He said Ferlan Mendy’s successful first year at the club hadn’t surprised him.

“He’s young, he’s talented and he’s showing it,” he said.

Real Madrid have won every game since returning from the unscheduled coronavirus hiatus in the league and wrested top spot in the table from Barcelona, who slipped up with a series of draws.

Barcelona beat Valladolid 0-1 to keep the title race alive on Saturday. They need to win their remaining two matches against Osasuna and Alaves to stay in with a chance of winning the league but would also need Real Madrid to drop some six points in the next three games. EFE-EPA


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