Zidane accepts half-time changes may have cost Real Madrid

By Sports Desk March 01, 2021

Zinedine Zidane held his hands up and accepted his half-time tinkering may have cost Real Madrid in their 1-1 draw at home to Real Sociedad on Monday. 

Madrid were the more threatening of the teams in the first half at Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano, with Mariano Diaz hitting the crossbar from close range in a lucky escape for the visitors. 

But, seemingly unhappy with his team's performance, Zidane altered his setup at the interval to go with a back three, only for Portu to ghost in at the back post to head in a Nacho Monreal cross in the 55th minute. 

Zidane reverted to a back four soon after and eventually Madrid got their equaliser in the 89th minute through substitute Vinicius Junior. 

But the Frenchman seemingly felt his half-time changes may have backfired. 

Speaking to reporters after the game, Zidane said: "I changed it [at half-time] because I wasn't happy with our pressing. 

"It was those 10-15 minutes and we changed it again and we were better playing a 4-3-3. Our substitutes did well after coming on." 

Zidane was then asked again if he felt he made a mistake with his initial tweaks, to which he replied: "If you've asked me, and that's now three times, then yes, maybe. 

"We had to change things because, after an hour, the team was a bit tired. Sometimes we have to change things. In the end, you try to find things to change the dynamic." 

While Vinicius' late equaliser likely prevented Madrid from suffering a massive psychological blow ahead of a potentially pivotal derby clash with Atletico Madrid at the weekend, in the grand scheme of the title race it did little to improve their standing. 

Either way, the pressure on Madrid going into the weekend is greater than if they had beaten La Real, as they stay five points behind the leaders having played a game more, yet Zidane insists Monday's result changes nothing. 

"We have to remain calm," Zidane added. "We had a good game and we had three or four chances [to score]. 

"Patience, calm and rest. We were up against a team that creates chances against you. We have to carry on. 

"It doesn't change the way we go into the derby. We have to go there to have a great game." 

Related items

  • Real Madrid winger Hazard not ready for Anfield return Real Madrid winger Hazard not ready for Anfield return

    Eden Hazard will not be risked by Real Madrid in their Champions League quarter-final second leg against Liverpool.

    Hazard has been restricted to only 14 appearances in a frustrating injury-hit campaign for the LaLiga champions.

    The Belgium international recovered from a hip injury to make a substitute appearance in a 2-1 win over Elche last month but sustained another setback.

    Hazard is back in training but was not included in Los Blancos' 21-man squad for the clash at Anfield on Wednesday, which Zinedine Zidane's side will start with a 3-1 lead.

    Lucas Vazquez will also be absent after he suffered a season-ending knee injury in the 2-1 Clasico victory over Barcelona on Saturday.

    There were concerns over Toni Kroos' fitness for the trip to Merseyside after the Germany midfielder came off in the win over Barca, but he was named in the squad, along with Federico Valverde, who was also a doubt.

    In-form Madrid will also be without injured defenders Sergio Ramos, Dani Carvajal and Raphael Varane once again.

  • Rumour Has It: PSG eyeing Kane and Salah as Bayern, Chelsea and Atletico circle Inter's Barella Rumour Has It: PSG eyeing Kane and Salah as Bayern, Chelsea and Atletico circle Inter's Barella

    Where will Kylian Mbappe be playing next season is a question being asked across Europe.

    The Paris Saint-Germain star has been tipped to join Real Madrid.

    Should Mbappe depart Paris, PSG are reportedly drawing up a list of replacements.

     

    TOP STORY – KANE AND SALAH WANTED IN PARIS

    Paris Saint-Germain have set their sights on Tottenham forward Harry Kane and Liverpool star Mohamed Salah as possible replacements for Kylian Mbappe, according to Telefoot.

    Mbappe has been heavily linked with LaLiga champions Real Madrid, though PSG remain in negotiations over a contract extension.

    While PSG are still hopeful, the Ligue 1 holders are eyeing the Premier League should Mbappe leave the French capital.

    Kane is reportedly wanted by Manchester United and Manchester City, while Salah has previously been linked with Madrid and Barcelona.

     

    ROUND-UP

    - Calciomercato reports Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid are chasing Inter midfielder Nicolo Barella. The Sun adds Chelsea are also interested in the Italy star.

    Juventus and PSG could exchange Mauro Icardi and Paulo Dybala in a swap deal, says Corriere dello Sport. Icardi's future is up in the air, despite only joining PSG permanently from Inter last year, while countryman Dybala is reportedly nearing an exit.

    - AS Diario claims United are keeping tabs on Villarreal centre-back Pau Torres, who has also been linked with neighbours City. United have also been credited with interest in Sevilla defender Jules Kounde, RB Leipzig's Liverpool target Ibrahima Konate as well as Madrid captain Sergio Ramos and team-mate Raphael Varane.

    - Eintracht Frankfurt boss Adi Hutter is set to replace outgoing boss Marco Rose at Borussia Monchengladbach, reports Kicker. Rose is poised to take charge of Borussia Dortmund.

  • Atletico boss Simeone tells LaLiga hopefuls to 'resist' in title push as injuries mount Atletico boss Simeone tells LaLiga hopefuls to 'resist' in title push as injuries mount

    Diego Simeone called on hobbling Atletico Madrid to "resist" in their LaLiga title hunt as the club's injuries pile up following a 1-1 draw with Real Betis.

    Atletico returned to the top of the table, ahead of defending champions Real Madrid and Barcelona, after sharing the spoils at Betis in a thrilling encounter on Sunday.

    Yannick Carrasco scored their quickest goal of the season, timed at four minutes, 36 seconds, for Atletico. However, Cristian Tello struck back for European hopefuls Betis 15 minutes later.

    Already without Luis Suarez, Marcos Llorente, Moussa Dembele and Geoffrey Kondogbia due to injury, Atletico saw star Joao Felix suffer an ankle injury, while full-back Kieran Trippier had to be replaced with a back injury.

    As the injuries mount, Atletico head coach Simeone said: "In the second half we suffered. But I have footballers who give everything.

    "We are in a moment of resistance. Resist, that's a word that appeals to me. Resist, like all of society in these difficult times."

    Chasing four home wins in a row for the first time since April 2018, Betis had the better of the second half, though Atletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak stood firm when called upon and his counterpart Claudio Bravo made a superb late stop from Angel Correa to preserve a deserved point.

    Atletico have scored 52 goals after 30 league games this season (1.73 goals per game). The last LaLiga winner with as few or fewer goals at this stage of the season were Fabio Capello's Real Madrid in 2006-07 (42 goals).

    Correa has delivered 10 assists in all competitions this term, equalling the best tally in his six seasons at Atletico (level with 2016-17 campaign). The Argentinian has scored only four goals, however, which is his lowest tally at this stage of the season.

    Oblak has made at least three saves in the last four games for Atletico across all competitions (14 saves on aggregate, four against Betis) – his longest run with at least three saves this season.

    Simeone added: "We will see what happens, all the teams have a moment of irregularity and hopefully we have passed it after today's draw.

    "We have maintained a firm and strong step this season as both Madrid and Barcelona have begun to recover so we will wait and see."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.