NEWS | 21/02/2017"They’re playing a lot better lately and getting good results", added the coach about the next opponent.
"We’ll come up against a good team at a difficult ground. Valencia weren’t getting the result before but they are now. My message is always the same. We know the league is difficult. It's February and we're doing ok now, but that doesn’t mean anything. Only ourselves and Valencia are playing and it’s an opportunity for us to pick up more points, we know the importance of this result on the rest of the league".
Two consecutive matches away from home
"It’s a key time. We have two away games in a row. It’s February and by the time we get to March, we’ll be approaching the end of the season and every game is very important. Every moment is critical".
"We are going to rotate players and the games will dedicate who we rotate. I don’t rotate players just for the sake of it but because they are all important and because I truly believe that every player can make a difference. This is what I believe and I transmit it to the players. I’m encouraged by what we’re doing now and so are the players".
Spanish and academy players
"It's important because they work very well. In my time they referred to it as Pavones and Zidanes in the sense that there were academy players. Everyone is important and the Spanish players are important because they are at home and that is noticeable in the atmosphere between them and their teammates from other places. People are happy because the Spanish and academy players are getting minutes".
"It’s a credit to them, because they believe in what I want. The players are the most important thing. They have a lot of pressure and they know that at Real Madrid everything is magnified. Every player that plays does very well and I don’t think that in the squad, amongst all the players, there is a great difference in level. This is very important for the team".
"He’s played all his life on the wing. That’s his position and of course he’ll score goals in that position. He can play in other positions because he’s phenomenal, but his favourite position and where he scores so many goals from is there. There’ll be games when we rest him, but for now he’s fine and we’ll see later. I'm sure he's going to play tomorrow ".
"I have 24 very good players and the players know it. When you change a player it doesn’t mean anything. They are all important and that’s how I’ll think until the end because I believe in my squad and the 24 players. We all know what we want to do together and I’ll not change my ideas. I believe in my squad. We all know what we want to do together".
"He knows that I count on him and that I like him as a player. I listen to the players and there are no problems. He’s very good and you know what I think of him. No player is going to be happy with his situation because he will always want to play more, but having games every three days and a big squad means I want everyone to be focused".
The return of Bale
"He's good and happy. Physically he's strong and we'll see if he’ll play tomorrow from the start or not".
"He’s an important player and whenever he plays he does his job. That's what's important now. The contract is not my business. I’ll count on him until the end. There’ll be matches he plays in and other when he doesn’t. We have eight very good defenders and from time to time we have to leave some out of the match day squad".
Memories of his debut against Valencia
"It was a difficult game but I like those games, the fans make it difficult for you. It motivates the team, both the home side and the visitors. I have experienced atmospheres like this in Italy and I like them. It's a football match and we know the difficulties we're going to have tomorrow, but we're prepared".
"I value positively what he is doing out on the field when he plays. He’s doing well. The other day he played very well and not only does he score, but he also makes others around him play well. I'm happy because he said he wanted to stay and not leave".
Comparisons with the Real Madrid in which he played
"Real Madrid are always the best. We had a great team when I played and we do now. I don’t like to make comparisons".
"I don’t think that they’re in crisis".
Departures in summer?
"We cannot know what's going to happen in the summer. We are focused on the competition, on the field and nothing else. We'll see what happens in the summer. It's not the important thing at the moment".