Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane is adamant his team’s inconsistency is not down to an attitude problem in the squad.
Defending Liga champions Madrid have been wildly erratic in 2020-21, producing some under-par performances despite also celebrating some commendable wins, such as the 3-1 Clasico victory and Wednesday’s Champions League triumph at Inter.
Among their more disappointing results have been home defeats to Cadiz and Shakhtar Donetsk, plus the 4-1 thrashing by Valencia prior to the international break.
They head into Saturday’s clash with Deportivo Alaves on the back of a 1-1 draw at Villarreal in their previous league outing, meaning another failure to win will see them drop points in three successive Liga games.
Madrid have already conceded 10 goals from their first nine matches, the joint-most at this stage in 12 seasons, but Zidane is refusing to put it down to the team’s collective mentality.
“It is not an attitude problem because we always want to give everything,” he told reporters. “You asked me so I have to answer, but this is football, there are a lot of factors at play in a game and sometimes you can’t understand it.
“The only thing we know is that, if we do things together, we are very difficult to beat but being consistent in football is the most difficult thing to achieve and we try to work on it every day, concentrating and working on all that we can. We have little time to prepare, but in the end that’s what we want, to do well.”
It has been suggested that Madrid are nearing the end of an era, with many players approaching the end of their careers – Sergio Ramos, Marcelo, Luka Modric and Karim Benzema are already well into their 30s – but Zidane dismissed this notion and made no pledge to bring in reinforcements in January.
“No, it’s not the end of an era here. You always have to fight, be concentrated – we never stop in that sense,” he added.
“There will always be changes in a squad from time to time, but the players want to compete and now we have this squad. Until when, I don’t know, but we have to do it until the end of the season with the squad I have, and we don’t have to change anything.”
Zidane also confirmed Dani Carvajal is set for another period on the sidelines due to an adductor injury, while Karim Benzema and Sergio Ramos remain absent for the time being.
“Dani has something and we are going to do the examination now. It seemed like nothing but now it does – we’ll examine him but I don’t know how long he’ll be out, I’m not a doctor. He has a niggle, that much is true,” Zidane said.
“Karim’s injury was bigger than it seemed – we have a lot of games, training, at the end a player has to be physically alright to play.
“Sergio the same – we won’t rush him. The feeling with him is good, so we’ll see when he returns to the team, but for the moment he is out.”