Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane insisted that his team will travel away from home to Camp Nou to lock horns against Barcelona in the first El Clasico of the season with a wave of spirited confidence since they sit atop the league table after having opened up a 6 point lead.
Nonetheless, he also went on record to say that a lack of weaknesses in their rivals meant that the Los Blancos will have to ‘tighten their asses’ in order to sneak in the all important win.
The Santiago Bernabeu side haven’t tasted defeat all season with an unbeaten run of 32 matches stretching as far as April, and will look to continue in the same fashion.
“Tomorrow will be totally different,” Zidane was quoted as saying at his pre-match press conference.
“Last year we went there with our buttocks clenched, I apologies for the language, but we need to have the same mentality.
“I want us to be just as prepared as we were last year, but play like we are now.”
Nevertheless, Zidane is not taking his opposition lightly, and dismissed suggestions that Madrid are favourites to win the fixture.
“There is no favourites for me, it is 50-50,” the Frenchman further added at the press conference. “We have to tighten our asses like we did last time.
“We have studied Barcelona and they have no weak points, they are a very strong team.
“We expect a difficult game against a great opponent, but we have prepared for it and are ready. We are only thinking about putting in a good performance. We are not thinking about winning or losing. If we play well, the result will come.
“I think we can definitely get a good result if we replicate the intensity from the derby against Atletico. I do not expect Barcelona to play like they did [when they drew] against Real Sociedad, though. They are champions and champions always play well in big games.
Luis Enrique, the Barca gaffer however described the 1-1 draw against Socieded as the teams’ worst performance in his tenure of three years.
Speaking about the lethal Cristiano Ronaldo who will lead the attack for Madrid, Zidane said, “He is very important for the rest of the team because he has tremendous energy. He still has the hunger to win and that is good for the group.”
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