NEWS | 27/09/2021“It's a tough competition, but our club is more used to winning it than others. That gives us a slight advantage", declared the coach.
“Our motivation levels are always the same. This club has a special connection with this competition. For those of us who represent this club it’s special and that’ll be the case again this year. It’s a really tough competition, but this club is more used to winning it than others and that gives us a slight advantage”.
“We’ve had some issues at the back with the injuries to Mendy, Marcelo, Carvajal and Nacho. We’ve changed the positions on some occasions and that changes things in tactical terms. Sometimes when we’ve played with an out-and-out winger like Rodrygo you don’t need your full-back to push up much and just need them to remain in their position. This may have affected the position of Lucas, who hasn’t played at full-back as much and more as a winger, like he did against Inter. If I need a full-back who will push on, I think Lucas is our best option”.
“I’m pleased with how he’s doing. He was out with an injury and has come back strongly. When you bring a player off in the 75th minute it’s not because they’re performing poorly, it’s because I wanted to add some fresh legs. He changed the whole complexion of the game against Villarreal. He did really well in the attacking midfielder role and stopped Capoué from playing. I brought him off because you’ve got to remember that he’s 36 and bringing him off a bit earlier can mean that he avoids an injury issue further down the line”.
Differences with Zidane’s Madrid
“It’s difficult to say because the players don’t change much. I’ve got players who have changed a little.
I don’t like to compare this team with Zizou’s side, but Zizou did things to the best of his ability. He won the Champions League three times in a row and I’d like to win another one”.
Is it difficult for two new centre-backs to gel?
“Militão and Alaba are doing really well. We’ve played eight games and have kept clean sheets in three of them. We’re improving but it’s a collective responsibility and isn’t just down to the defence. Militão and Alaba have to get used to playing together, but they’ve got off to a good start”.
Criticism following Villarreal game
“I’m not surprised because I have to accept that criticism. If you were to ask me whether we got the approach wrong I might think that we did but I’d never officially admit to the fact. Criticism sometimes helps you to improve”.
Will Kroos, Casemiro and Modrić play together?
“It’s important that we have Kroos, Modrić, Casemiro, Valverde, Asensio, Isco, Camavinga in the middle... and all of them will be useful this season. The tough thing isn’t naming a line-up in every game, the tough thing is if we didn’t have that kind of player. I’ve struggled in the past because I’ve rarely had a midfield with as much quality. I’d have to look back at my first spell at Real Madrid when I had Alonso, Di María, Khedira, Modrić…”.
A and B teams
“I haven’t got an A and a B team. I’ve got a very strong and competitive squad and in some positions I have to pick who starts the game”.
Benzema’s role with youngsters
“I don’t know whether they talk in private, but I’m lucky to be able to watch a professional player who is amongst the best in the world train day in, day out. He’s gracious and shows his commitment every day. That’s how lucky I am”.
“He’s doing pretty well, we’ve now got two games and I think we’ll use the international break to get him back up to speed to be able to play after the break”.