Zinedine Zidane has never lost as a coach at the Camp Nou, but his Real Madrid side is lacking in confidence and inspiration … a defeat at Barcelona could lead to calls for his departure with Mauricio Pochettino and Raul in the await the wings
- Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane has not lost as a manager at Nou Camp
- His party will enter El Clasico on Saturday without confidence and inspiration
- They were defeated by Shakhtar Donetsk after losing to LaLiga minnows Cadiz
- Zidane is without Eden Hazard and Martin Odegaard for the crucial clash
- Mauricio Pochettino and Raul have been linked with taking over when he is fired
“Every season has its highs and lows,” Zinedine Zidane said in his press conference on Friday. He has been a Real Madrid player and coach long enough to know that there is no low point like a defeat to Barcelona’s lowest, and that some coaches never recover from it.
The Real Madrid manager has never lost as a coach at the Nou Camp, he must keep that record to ensure that the whispers about his future don’t turn into calls for the club to turn to youth team coach Raul or even Mauricio Pochettino.
The fact that both are relatively easy to hire – Raul may need to be convinced he’s ready and Pochettino should be satisfied in terms of contract – makes Zidane’s situation just a little more uncertain.
Zinedine Zidane has never lost as a coach at Camp Nou, but is under pressure this weekend
Mauricio Pochettino (L) and Raul (R) have both been linked with taking over when Zidane is fired
Real will enter El Clasico on Saturday after two defeats against Cadiz and Shakhtar Donetsk
He won a league title last July and that is clearly true for him, but the club sacked Vicente del Bosque once days after winning the league, so it won’t necessarily be enough.
“They say I’m playing for my future,” but they said that a year ago and also in my first period in charge, “said Zidane. He is right. Twice before that he had to stare into the abyss. In his first time in charge, he looked unhappy after a 1-0 defeat to Real Madrid, but he went on to win a third straight Champions League. When he returned to work last year, he took his side to Mallorca, where the ultimately relegated squad beat them 1-0. He eventually won the competition.
He is able to tweak things tactically and touch his player’s nerves to get a response from it. He can also ex-communicate with players, making him decide never to trust certain individuals again. James Rodriguez – who is now growing trees with Everton – was one of those who underperformed Atletico in Zidane’s first spell and was never really forgiven.
Luka Jovic is one of the many players that Zidane could drop for the game against Barca
It remains to be seen if anyone should be shunned after the last two defeats. Nacho, Eder Militao, Marcelo, Luka Jovic and Rodrigo are all candidates. But the surprising truth is, Zidane doesn’t have the luxury of options he once had. He needs all of his players after a summer when no one new has arrived, and before a January window where no one new is likely to arrive.
He will likely welcome Sergio Ramos back on Saturday and that will immediately improve a defense that isn’t great with him right now but is much worse without him. Ferland Mendy, Raphael Varane and Nacho are likely to complete the back four.
He is then expected to choose four midfielders with Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, Casemiro and Fede Valverde playing behind Karim Benzema and Vinicius in the attack. On paper that is a flat team without inspiration. It looks briefly creative, the unpredictable genius that the Madrid teams have always had.
That’s partly not Zidane’s fault. He is not responsible for the financial crisis that caused the club to shrink from making purchases. It is not his fault that Eden Hazard and Martin Odegaard both have long-term injuries.
Captain Sergio Ramos is ready to return from injury that will surely amplify Real’s defensive weaknesses
Eden Hazard and Martin Odegaard’s injuries mean the Real team lacks a creative spark
Odegaard’s tendonitis problem seems to keep him out until after the next international break and the prospects for Hazard are no brighter. Those two may have produced some of the flair this team so desperately needs.
Without the offensive insight they must at least defend better and that means attackers must close the opponent’s defenses and don’t allow midfielders to allow rival attacks to progress across the center of the field as easily as both Cadiz and Shakhtar have in the past seven days. have done.
A win over Ronald Koeman’s side after two horrific appearances would be typical of Madrid’s usual resilience. But something about the way the last two defeats took place suggests this is not common in Madrid. “We lacked confidence,” Zidane said after the midweek defeat. That was a summary of the way they started the season and the way they can’t afford to play at Nou Camp.
A win over Ronald Koeman (above) would be typical of Real’s usual resilience