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Zidane: “Our strength is our squad"

NEWS | 05/04/2021

"We never give anything up, I'm confident in my players and know what they are capable of", said the coach.
Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane spoke in a virtual press conference ahead of the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final against Liverpool (Tuesday, 9pm CEST): "It's a knockout tie. It's to be played over two legs. We know there are 180 minutes or more, but for us, as always, the most important thing is tomorrow's game. We're not looking any further ahead than that. We want to do well in this game and that's all we're thinking about".

"Liverpool are a complete team. People will tell you that the three forwards are very good and that's true, but they're a very strong and solid team, and they're play very much as a team. I'd focus more on the team as a whole, not on one particular aspect. We know that the three forwards are very dangerous players and we're going to have to watch out for everything".

Is this the most important game of the year?
"Yes, because it's the next one. It's our next game. It's an important game just like our last one at home against Éibar. We're in the Champions League now, it's our next game and we're only focused on tomorrow''.

Winning a title
"We deserve it. I'm very confident in my team, I know what they're capable of.  But we can't change what goes on outside. All we can do is focus on our job every day. This team overturns a lot of things and that's the good thing about this team, this club, this history. We never take things for granted. Never, never. Because as long as there is hope, there is life. We're still in two competitions and we're going to fight and fight hard. We've had some difficult moments, but it doesn't mean anything. We have to keep fighting. It's going to be a tough game, very difficult and we're going to have to compete well".

Liverpool's injuries
"I don't know if it's a weakness. They've got other players who can stand in for the players who're missing, and so have we. We have a lot of players missing, but our strength is in the squad. I believe that's the case. There's always going to be someone missing with what's happening this year, and it's the same at Liverpool".

"The important thing is that he's at ease with his return and that he's fully recovered. I don't think he was rushed back the other day because the player felt good. We never take risks. If the player is fit, I want him with the team. What we're going to take things gradually and we'll see when Eden is ready to be with us, but for the moment this is the situation".

Liverpool are a complete team, very strong and solid.

"We need all our players. Always. Of course it's a problem to pick the team, but I like to have the players fit and available and I don't like it when one of them is injured. We want to get Eden back as soon as possible, because we've had a lot of injuries. We have got some players back and I hope that before the end of the season we'll have all the players back".

Playing alongside Benzema
"All the players here know how to play and have earned the right to be here and play for this great club. They're the best. All of the players have a good understanding of Karim and Karim has a good understanding of everyone else. It's the consequence of what's happening out on the pitch. There's a good chemistry between them and you see it on the pitch".

"He's a top coach. He's been coaching for a long time, he's experienced. The work he's done throughout his career and now with Liverpool. Everyone has their own characteristics. He doesn't have to do it the way I do it or he has to do it the way I'm doing it. Everyone has to work the way they are, but I look at all coaches. I like to learn and I learnt a lot, especially when I was doing the course. He's achieved great things even before that final, and after he won the final. When I did my coach training course I learnt a lot of things from a lot of coaches, the best ones, and also from Klopp, but every coach has his own style and doesn't have to copy the others".

Similarities with the Kiev final
"We don't dwell on the past. The past is gone and we now have to focus on the present. It's a different game for them and for us too and we have to approach it as such. We're preparing for a different game. As Haaland isn't our player, I'm not going to get into that".

"He's not my player. I have 25 players here. At the moment I'm the Real Madrid coach and I'm enjoying every day of it. I'm interested in tomorrow's game and playing against players like Salah. That's what we're going to be doing tomorrow".

"I can tell you is one thing for sure. On the issue of racism, zero tolerance. I don't know what happened yesterday. I can tell you what I feel inside. It's the same as respect. First of all, respect for the person and for me that's the most important thing. Racism, zero tolerance. They are serious issues, but I don't know what happened because I wasn't at the stadium. If we talk about racism we have to have zero tolerance, not just because of a word that has been be said, but at all levels, all the behaviours related to it. The mixture is what makes us all better as people".