Zidane won’t countenance defensive approach in Madrid derby
Real have only lost one of the last eight encounters with Atletico.
Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane insists his side will be going all out for victory in the Madrid derby against Atletico at the Bernabeu.
Real are currently four points adrift of their city rivals in LaLiga but have enjoyed a strong run against Atletico, drawing two and winning two of their last four matches and have only lost one of the last eight encounters.
Zidane told reporters after Real’s training session on Saturday morning: “We’ll be going out to win the game. We can’t sit back or consider approaching it in any other way.
“We’re up against a very good side, both defensively and in attacking terms. It’ll be a good game and our intensity levels will be key. We want to keep our good run going against Atletico.
“There are three points at stake and this game is equally important for both sides. We’ll just be focused on tomorrow’s match and we want to cut the gap at the top.
“Atletico deserve to be where they are in the standings and all we can do is make up some ground on them. Our duty is to give our all in every game and reduce the gap as much as we can. We’ve got to continue to go all out right until the end of the LaLiga season.”
Zidane, though, expects Gareth Bale to remain with the club next season and the Wales international remains a key part of his plans.
He said: “They’re all important for me and he’ll be an important player until the end of the season. I believe that he’ll bring a great deal to the team at particular times, but I’ve got to make the decisions. All of them always want to play, and all the more so in the case of a player like him. We know what he’s capable of and what he has done in the past.
“He’ll be here next season, just like the rest of them. I don’t believe that it’s true that he only features in the less important games. We have many matches, he’s a Real Madrid player and is here to stay.
“He’s been training and he’s not going to let his motivation levels drop off. That’s what I’m here for.”
Atletico coach Diego Simeone is not expecting the game to be any more intense despite Real wanting to close the gap on his side.
Simeone told a pre-match press conference: “I have had derbies when we were first, eighth, ninth. But derbies are passionate because the fans experience them all the same way. I don’t imagine things being any different.”
Atletico are still without centre-back Jose Maria Gimenez who has a bruised foot so Juanfran Torres likely will continue at right-back with Sime Vrsaljko troubled with a hamstring problem.
Defender Nacho will miss out for Real as he has not recovered from a muscle problem suffered against Los Palmas.