Yokohama - Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane admitted on
Saturday his players were suffering from cabin fever after spending almost a
week couped up in a Japanese hotel.
As the European champions prepare to plunder more silverware
at the Club World Cup, Zidane has noticed his players becoming restless before
the final against Japan's Kashima Antlers in Yokohama on Sunday.
"To be honest it is very boring having to spend a week
in a hotel," the Frenchman told reporters.
"The players want to relax and do fun stuff but we
understand that it's part of the job. We have to be professional and treat it
as a training camp," added Zidane, whose side beat Mexico's Club America
2-0 on Thursday.
"We didn't start too well in our first game, which was
partly down to the long journey and a lack of training but we came here to win
the trophy and we will be ready tomorrow(Sunday)."
Asked for his thoughts on Real's Japanese opponents, the
best Zidane could muster was: "They run a lot."
But Zidane insisted the Spanish giants - chasing a second
world title in three years - would not make the same mistake as Colombia's
Atletico Nacional, who were ambushed 3-0 by Kashima in midweek.
"Kashima are in the final because they deserve to
be," said Zidane, who has overseen a club record unbeaten run of 36
"We don't strut around before games thinking we've won
before they have started just because we are Real Madrid - we go into battle
every game and we show our quality game after game, as we will tomorrow."
Real have become European kings for the 11th time and added
a Super Cup title since Zidane took over from Rafa Benitez in January.
"I believe in the power of positive thinking,"
"I haven't been coach for long but I'm blessed with
great players and I'm happy how it's gone so far."
Zidane welcomes back captain Sergio Ramos for the final
after the defender sat out the America game with fatigue.
"Sergio is our captain," shrugged Zidane. "I
expect him to be able to play 90 minutes tomorrow(Sunday)."
Ramos scored crucial late goals in Real's previous two games
in La Liga but wants to put the world club final to bed early.
"The important thing is to win," he said after
completing a full training session.
"Of course I would love to score but I don't want to
wait until the last minute again. Tomorrow(Sunday) is a final so we have to believe in
ourselves and get the job done."
Kashima manager Masatada Ishii tried to play down the
expectations of excitable local media.
"We have a chance to show that Japanese football has
closed the gap a little bit," he said.
"I envy the players being able to play in such a big
game, although when I was a player I wasn't that good - I would have been
cheering from the bench."