Champions League

Zidane: Madrid back on track

2018-03-07 09:37
Zinedine Zidane (Getty Images)

Cape Town - Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane said he believes his team’s season is finally coming together as the defending champions moved into the last eight of the Champions League.

Goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Casemiro helped Madrid to a 2-1 win in Paris and a 5-2 aggregate victory as Madrid chase a third straight Champions League title.

Edinson Cavani equalised for PSG, but the hosts never looked like overhauling their 3-1 first leg deficit, especially after Marco Verratti received a second yellow card for dissent.

With the La Liga title seemingly out of reach (Madrid sit 15 points behind leaders Barcelona), Zidane called on his side to stay united.

"We've had difficult moments in the Liga and Copa del Rey, but it's always difficult to maintain the same level while playing every three days.

"You can't always win everything, but we're winning now in the Liga and we have to look ahead to our game with Eibar on Saturday."

"Paris were perhaps not as good, but that's maybe because we played well. After the sending-off and the second goal, it got more difficult for them."

Zidane also addressed speculation that Gareth Bale, who came on as a second-half substitute, would possibly leave Madrid, saying he was an important part of his plans.

"I respect all the players, including Gareth Bale. He wasn't a starter in either leg, but he's a very important player who causes lots of trouble to the opposition. We have to stay united, as we were tonight."

Zidane’s opposite number Unai Emery was understandably upset after seeing his side exit the competition in the last 16 for the second season running, adding that conceding two goals in the last 10 minutes of the first leg had proved crucial.

"We all want to win this competition quickly. We'll continue with patience, and build a team that can win,” he said.

"I'm sure this team can win the Champions League. The supporters will see that Paris will win this competition one day.

"Losing to Madrid is not a disappointment, but going out in the last 16 is. But, the first leg was the key because we were better over the first 80 minutes than them.

"They controlled 60% of this match and we couldn't do enough in the 40% we controlled."


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