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Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Zidane unfazed by Mourinho talk as Real prepare for Sevilla test

Reuters , Sunday 22 Sep 2019
Zinedine
Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane gestures (Photo: Reuters)
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Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane says he is paying no attention to heavy criticism aimed at him after the 3-0 defeat by Paris St Germain in the Champions League and is not bothered that Spanish media continue to link Jose Mourinho with his job.

Real were up against an under-strength PSG side on Wednesday missing Neymar, Edinson Cavani and Kylian Mbappe but produced a pitiful display, failing to register a shot on target in a Champions League game for the first time in 16 years.

“I’m not interested in what is said outside the club, the day I pay attention to what’s in the press is the day I leave,” Zidane told a news conference on Saturday ahead of Real’s visit to early La Liga leaders Sevilla on Sunday.

“I feel in a strong position and I never give up. I will keep trying until the last minute and as long as the club will give me the chance to continue. I don’t feel questioned at all.”

Spanish media have reported that Real president Florentino Perez would be keen to recruit former coach Mourinho, currently without a club, should Zidane be relieved of his duties.

“I’m not bothered by the Mourinho speculation,” added the French coach, who led Real to three consecutive Champions League titles before resigning in 2018 but has only won seven out of 16 games since returning to the club in March.

“This is how the situation is, and whenever the team has a bad result the impression is that everything needs to change. It’s difficult but it’s the reality.”

Real have taken eight points from four La Liga games while Sevilla top the standings with 10 after making a flying start under coach Julen Lopegetui, who was named as Zidane’s successor at Real last year but was sacked in October.

Lopetegui, however, said he harboured no ill feelings towards Real and was treating Sunday’s game like any other.

“Three points are up for grabs tomorrow and that should be motivation enough for us even though we know what it means to face Real Madrid,” he said.

“I have a very good memory of every club I’ve been at and always try to remember the positive things. I try to be responsible and ambitious and tomorrow will be no exception.”

Real will be able to count on captain Sergio Ramos against Sevilla after he missed the PSG defeat due to suspension, although Marcelo is a doubt and Luka Modric is still injured.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

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