Zidane on Jović’s brace: “It’s easy to blame me, but it’s not the coach’s fault”

Coach Zinedine Zidane of Real Madrid during the Spanish Super Cup match between Real Madrid v Athletic de Bilbao at the La Rosaleda Stadium on January 14, 2021 in Malaga Spain.

Zinedine Zidane spoke to the media for the first time in almost a week on Tuesday, ahead of the Wednesday night Copa del Rey game against Alcoyano. The Copa del Rey is a tournament that Zidane has only won as assistant coach to Carlo Ancelotti and he was asked about this in the press conference. “Thanks for reminding me that I’ve not won it!” Zidane chuckled. 

“But, I’m keen to win it. We work every day here to fight to win things.”

When it was put to Zidane that this match could be a potential banana skin, he replied: “No, it’s the opposite. Given that this team just knocked out a top-tier side, we have to demand a lot of ourselves from the first minute. It’s not a trap game. We know the kind of team we’re playing against. The cup has always produced surprises, also in other countries. When smaller teams have the chance to play bigger teams, they do incredible things. So, we must be prepared. There are no easy games.”

The other major talking point of the press conference was Luka Jović, after the Serbian scored two goals in his first half an hour with Eintracht Frankfurt. Zidane was asked why he thinks players like Jović, Sergio Reguilón, Acrhaf Hakimi and James Rodriguez have performed so well after leaving Real Madrid. In one of his longest press conference answers in some time, Zidane replied: “It’s easy to say I’m to blame. I always love my players. With Reguilón they said it was my fault, but no. There are times when players stay here and know it’s difficult. I’ve seen that as a player. There are moments when players need to go and play. That’s what Luka has done, I think that was a good option for a great player like Luka. I’m happy for him and wish him well. I hope that one day we can enjoy him doing the same things at Real Madrid. But, of course, playing away from and playing at Real Madrid are different things. He is 23 and he has a future and can show what he can do at Real Madrid. It’s the same for all players. When you’re inside Real Madrid, you have to show what you can do within the competition. It’s not the fault of the coach.”

When asked about David Alaba and Kylian Mbappe, though, Zidane didn’t want to talk about either possible transfer. He said: “I’m interested in tomorrow’s game. That’s all. I know if might be interesting, but I won’t talk about that. Everyone here is only thinking about tomorrow’s game.”

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