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Real Madrid - Sporting de Portugal

Zidane: “We didn't ever throw the towel in”

NEWS | 14/09/2016 | Javier García

“We put in a tremendous effort and we believed right until the end", added the Real Madrid coach
After having witnessed another fine European comeback, Zinedine Zidane spoke to the media to offer his assessment of the win against Sporting CP in his side's Champions League opener: "I'm happy that we got the three points. They made things difficult for us, but we didn't give up. The important thing was to put points on the board. With the substitutions, I was looking for them to give us something else and they did that. I'm pleased with James, Lucas and Morata".

"In the first 80 minutes we played well too. We faced a team that fought hard, particularly in the first half. After the first goal we played better, we were more dominant and got into good positions in attack. When you play in the opposition's half it's different".

"It wasn't an unexpected win. I don't know whether we deserved it or not, but what's for sure is that we kept believing right until the end. You have to keep going until the final minute, we're a united group and we're very focused, at any given time we can make the difference. We saw that tonight, although we're aware that the performance wasn't a perfect one".

A tough game
"We'll analyse the aspects that I didn't like. What I do know is that we can perform better than we did. But, as I said, we came up against a team that played their game and made it difficult for us. This is the Champions League and nothing is easy in football. There are no easy games".

"I thought that he did well, despite not having played all that much. It was to be expected that he started the game a bit slowly, because he hasn't played for a long time. We're only at the start of the season and we can improve. I see the whole squad as being focused, committed and they're all working hard. All of the players know that they can bring something to the team".

We know that, at any given time, we can make the difference.

"We're Real Madrid and we know that every game will be tough and that our opponents will make it hard for us. We didn't ever thrown the towel in and that's important. The effort put in was tremendous. When you win a game in this manner it means a lot to the squad. That's what I take away with me and I go home with a smile on my face and feeling very relaxed. We can't win all of our games 5-0. Today we had to dig in, but we got the three points".

"You also ask your strikers to do is to get you goals. I'm happy with his overall performance today. He didn't start and when he came on he did a good job. Today he made the difference, on another day it'll be Karim or another player. I've got a lot of players who are capable of making the difference. I'm lucky enough to have a strong squad".

"Right now he's not a starter but he can become one, regardless of what he did in the 15 minutes. Today he made a difference, but I assess him on the work he does day in, day out. I'm pleased with his display. We know the sort of player that he is and he'll get given playing time".

Real Madrid and comebacks
"Real Madrid's history is obvious to everyone. The fans that come to the ground like this sort of thing. Today it was tough but the fans enjoyed themselves. This is Real Madrid, we know that, at any given time, we can make the difference".

The opposition
"I wasn't surprised by them at all. They're very difficult opponents and they showed that. I don't know whether it's a fair result, I'm not going to comment on that. We didn't throw the towel in, we showed character, we put in a tremendous effort and we got our reward".