Real Madrid’s French coach Zinedine Zidane smiles during a press conference at Valdebebas Sport City in Madrid on October 17, 2016 on the eve of their Champions League football match against Legia Warszawa. / AFP PHOTO / PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU
Zinedine Zidane is determined to guide Real Madrid to victory over Borussia Dortmund in a Champions League Group F clash the Frenchman has described as a final.
Madrid are fresh from having secured a last-gasp Clasico draw against Barcelona, but need a win at the Santiago Bernabeu to top their group in Zidane’s 50th game at the helm.
“It’s a final. It’s the last group outing and we’re playing at home in front of our supporters, so hopefully we’ll put in a good performance,” Zidane told a pre-match media conference.
“We’re fully focused on the game. We’re going to set out to try to finish top of the group.
“Our last session was good. We’re going to look at how we can hurt Borussia Dortmund, get behind them and hopefully get an early goal.”
Zidane, who has lost just two of his matches in charge, fielded a host of questions over the inconsistent form of Karim Benzema.
His compatriot scored the winner against Sporting CP last month, but his performances in LaLiga have attracted criticism and he was out of sorts against Barca.
Zidane, though, retains faith in the 28-year-old.
“He’s a good player. He can offer us a lot more, but so can the rest of the squad,” he added. “He’s training hard.
“There are games when sometimes we need a bit more from Karim Benzema, but it’s something that doesn’t concern me. He’s working hard, has a good attitude in training and he tries to play well in every game.
“He doesn’t have a problem. He can play well, and on other days maybe his performance is a bit below par.
“Maybe against Barcelona we expected a bit more … but I’m not going to sit here and judge a player because maybe he has an off day.”
Champions League holders Madrid twice surrendered the lead to draw 2-2 at Signal Iduna Park in September.