Defiant Zidane vows under-fire Madrid won't throw in the towel

By Sports Desk February 05, 2021

Zinedine Zidane was in a defiant mood and vowed neither he nor his Real Madrid players will throw in the towel during a difficult period.

Los Blancos coach Zidane was absent for the team's past two LaLiga fixtures due to coronavirus, with Madrid following a victory over Deportivo Alaves with defeat against Levante.

The Levante loss was Madrid's fourth in LaLiga this season, one more than they suffered in the whole of their title-winning 2019-20 campaign.

Throw in a shock Copa del Rey defeat to Alcoyano and the pressure has been mounting on Zidane's position as head coach.

But a noticeably fired-up Zidane came out fighting when previewing Madrid's clash against Huesca.

"Well, I can't see into the future, I can't tell you what will happen. I think we need to be in this until the end," he said.

"There's a lot of talk that maybe a change is needed, maybe the manager, maybe this, maybe that, whatever needs to happen will happen. 

"I've said since day one I'm fortunate to be here, I'll make the most of my time here until my last day at the club. 

"If people want me to throw in the towel or the players to give up, I can say neither I nor the players are going to do that. 

"Of course a lot has been said about what we're going through right now, this spell, we haven't recently won enough games. But we're confident we can turn the tide.

"I think we all want to, we all need to, give our all until the end of the season. Of course, a lot could happen from now until the end of the campaign but as a team we're all rowing in the same direction. We're never going to give up, we'll give 100 per cent."

Madrid won 10 straight games and drew their final league fixture when LaLiga resumed after lockdown last season to win the title by five points.

This time around they are third and 10 adrift of leaders Atletico Madrid, with their city rivals owning a game in hand.

There have been suggestions Madrid need to freshen up an aging squad in the close season, but Zidane thinks his team deserved the opportunity to defend their title and more respect should be shown.

"I work, as you know, every day with the players, not at home, although I have been at home recently. Now I'm recovered and fully on board again," he added. 

"We're the defending league champions, we won the title last year. We had the right to try and defend the title we won last season. Maybe next season things will change, but I think we should have the chance to rightfully defend what we won last season. 

"We're not talking about what we won 10 years ago – it's about respect. It's a question I understand, I see comments of course. I think it's good you can say you don't want me here, or don't want me at the club but I think we just need a chance to defend what we won last season.

"I'm the number one in charge of this project. As for next year there'll be changes but I think we deserve this year, this squad deserves the chance to prove themselves to do this for the fans. 

"Nobody is going to jump ship, we'll all going to give it our all for the fans. Hopefully we can give them some things to celebrate, to shout about, they love their team, want to see the team win, play good football. We're going to try and do all those things.

"When we play badly or have a poor result, I think the press can sometimes criticise or be over the top. 

"I think we earnt that respect, and if we don't reach our goals come the end of the season, hand up I'll be the first to accept the blame. 

"Maybe I'm a bit angry, upset, I've been locked up indoors recovering from COVID. Now I'm back we'll battle until the end."

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