Zidane out to enjoy Clasico coaching debut

Real Madrid's French coach Zinedine Zidane gestures before the start of the Spanish league football match Real Madrid CF vs Club Atletico de Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on February 27, 2016. / AFP / CURTO DE LA TORRE

Real Madrid’s French coach Zinedine Zidane gestures before the start of the Spanish league football match Real Madrid CF vs Club Atletico de Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on February 27, 2016. / AFP / CURTO DE LA TORRE

Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane intends to enjoy his first experience of coaching in El Clasico as his side travel to Barcelona on Saturday faced with the daunting task of ending the European champions 39-game unbeaten run.

Barca lead third-placed Madrid by 10 points in La Liga with just eight games remaining, but Zidane believes his side can emerge victorious at the Camp Nou if they continue they same form they showed in winning five consecutive matches before a two-week international break.

“The fans want to see good football and I want to see my team as it has been recently,” said Zidane on Friday.

“Clasicos are the most beautiful thing in football for a player. Now I am going to live it as a coach. It is the first, but I am very happy and will enjoy it.”

The only previous meeting between the sides this season wasn’t enjoyable at all for those of a Madrid persuasion as Barca took the Santiago Bernabeu by storm with a 4-0 thrashing of Rafael Benitez’s Real side.

However, Zidane insisted he hasn’t spoken to his players about that match.

“The players know what happened. It is a different game to the first one. It is one we have to win and want to win.

“I have seen it and analysed it, but I haven’t spoken to the players about it.”

Madrid’s realistic hopes of landing a trophy this season appear to be in the Champions League, where they face Wolfsburg in the first leg of their quarter-final tie on Wednesday.

Zidane insisted he won’t reserve any players with the trip to Germany in mind.

Yet, having won the Champions League in his first season as a player at the Bernabeu in 2002, Zidane is conscious that he needs to deliver results between now and the end of the campaign to secure his position as coach for next season.

“The important thing is to win. I know because I was a player at this club,” he added.

“I am not thinking about the end of the season, the important thing is to do things as we have done recently. If we continue like this something positive will happen.”

French international defender Raphael Varane has not been included in Zidane’s 19-man squad for the trip to Barca after picking up a calf injury whilst on international duty.

German midfielder Toni Kroos will be fit to take part, though, despite suffering a blow to his foot from James Rodriguez in training on Friday.



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