Zidane: "We're doing really well and have to keep it up"

"It'll be a good game of football against an attack-minded side who are extremely fit", added the coach.
Zinedine Zidane responded to questions posed by the press from the media room at the Estadi di Bergamo ahead of his side’s final training session before the contest against Atlanta (Wednesday, 9pm CET): “We know the game we face and where we're coming from. We’re doing well and want to keep it up and put in another good performance. It's a different kind of game, it’s a Champions League match, but that doesn't change anything for us. We know just what a tough game it'll be, but we’re focused and committed”.

“We're excited to do as best we can and reach the final. Everytime Real Madrid take to the pitch, we do so to win. Every game is important and, as Toni (Kroos) said, every match is like a cup final for us and all the more so now that they're knockout ties. We've got two games against them, we know that we've got the return leg to come, but we're just focusing on this one”.

Middle third
“Every midfield has its own characteristics. Today I'm the coach of these players and I think that my players are the best. I'm delighted to have them and it’s not only Casimero, Kroos and Modric. All of them are important here and every generation has its players, but I'm lucky enough to have some really good players”.

“They’re a very attack-minded side.  We know just how good they are and that they’ve got some very good players. They’re an extremely fit team and, as you say, I don't like to compare teams. Atlanta are Atlanta and they have their own strengths. What I will say is that Atalanta and Real Madrid will serve up a good game of football”.

“We'll have to see. It's a different game for us and the opposition are different. They’re a side that have their own characteristics out on the pitch. We’ve prepared well for the game and just have to play our game and that's all there is to it”.

“We’ve known about this since the start of the season. We must focus on ourselves and we have to concentrate on what we are, what we want, what we've been doing recently and nothing else. We're preparing really well for the game and will be up against what’s also a very good team”.

We all enjoy pressure, we're luck enough to play in the Champions League and a game like this.

“We know just how tough the Champions League is. It’s very difficult to win the games, particularly if you want to reach the final, but Atalanta have shown the good work they’ve done over the past year. They’ve brought new players to improve the side and made some fine decisions. It’ll be a tough game for Madrid. We’ll have to go out there and show that we're a strong side. It's not easy to do that because we've played a lot of games. There are a lot of different tasks for us to do”.

Does the Champions League determine a coach’s future?
“No. We all know where we are here. It’s not just in the Champions League. It's the day-to-day work, it's what we always do. Every game is important. We’re used to all of this. We even all enjoy working under pressure. That's just football. We know that we're lucky enough to play in the Champions League and a game like this”.

Academy products
“In order for a player to establish themselves they have to play and that's difficult when there are so many players. That's why many of them end up going out on loan, they perform well and then get the chance to come back. There are many examples at Real Madrid of players who followed that route. That's what we want our academy players to go and do. They’re young and the important thing is that one day they’lll get to play in the top flight. To then actually play for Madrid is far tougher,  but it does happen”. 

“It’s a good thing that I'm not playing tomorrow. I'm a wreck (laughs).  I think that Gasperini has done a fine job at Atlanta. He was a coach at the Juventus academy when I played there and he did a great job. I like him as a coach”.

“We’ve got the players who are here and we'll try and go out there and win the game. As always, we'll go out there to try and win, we’ll never be satisfied with anything less”.

“There's no reasonable explanation to it. We’re all sorry not to have the injured players with us. It’s true that the start of the season wasn't really a typical one. That goes for the rest of the teams too, but it's true that we've got a lot of injuries at the moment with players who aren't available. That's the situation we’re currently facing, but I have to say that there are other players who are here and we’re going to go with them. We're well prepared for the game and are keen to continue to perform as we have been of late. It's all about being solid, creating chances and it's a good game to keep on doing what we have been doing up until now”.