Zinedine Zidane accepted responsibility after Real Madrid was dumped out of the Copa del Rey at the quarterfinals thanks to a pair of away goals from Leganes in what was a 2-2 aggregate draw.
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“I’m not angry with my players, I’m angry with myself,” Zidane said. “They give it their all, run hard… I am responsible. They have to accept a degree of the responsibility because they’re the ones out on the pitch. We’re all to blame, but I’m the one who’s responsible”.
He admitted the loss was his lowest point at the club, though it’s been a managerial run of greatness. Since taking over in 2016, Real has won two UEFA Champions League crowns, two FIFA Club World Cups, two UEFA Super Cups, and a La Liga crown.
But Real is fourth in La Liga this season, 19 points back of Barcelona with one match-in-hand, and now will not have a chance to end Barca’s run of three-straight Copa del Reys.
Zidane admits he must turn his focus to a third-straight Champions League crown, a feat no one’s done since Bayern Munich in 1976. It would also be a fourth title in five seasons, a measure which would only be topped by the five-straight it won to start the competition.
“Of course. We’ve lost one competition and we’re a long way off in LaLiga. Our objectives aren’t what we’d planned for at the start of the season. All we can do now is think about the remaining games, starting with Saturday, and prepare well for February 14.”
That’s when Real opens the Round of 16 with a visit from old foe Neymar and his new club, Paris Saint-Germain.
A valiant effort from a League One side has rewarded the minnows with a replay set to be played at Wembley Stadium.
Tottenham Hotspur looked on its way towards the FA Cup sixth round on Sunday, but a late finish by Steven Davies gave Rochdale a 2-2 draw with the Premier League club at the Spotland Stadium.
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Harry Kane — who scored his 34th goal on the season in all competitions — converted from the penalty spot in the 88th minute, however, Davies had the final say deep into stoppage time to send the two sides towards a replay.
Ian Henderson’s finish in the 45th minute gave Rochdale a gift at the conclusion of the first stanza, after the hosts capitalized on a Spurs giveaway near midfield.
Meanwhile, Tottenham managed to level the match at 1-1 on the hour mark when Lucas Moura calmly slotted his close-range shot past goalkeeper Josh Lillis after a timely through ball from Moussa Sissoko picked out the former PSG man.
The visitors began pressing on in the second half, with Mauricio Pochettino‘s side having trailed at the halftime break.
The two sides will now meet on either Feb. 27 or 28 in the reverse fixture to decide which team advances. The winner will either meet Sheffield Wednesday or Swansea City in the quarterfinals.
Paul Pogba‘s young career has been bright, but a former Manchester United legend suggests that there was a time where the Frenchman struggled to find his way at Old Trafford.
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The 24-year-old Pogba is now in his second stint with the Red Devils, after spending four seasons in Italy with giants Juventus.
Former United midfielder Paul Scholes says though that back in 2012 — prior to Pogba’s move to Juve — that the physical player wasn’t pleased with the fact that he wasn’t getting regular minutes with the first team.
“Ferguson wanted me initially to come back and coach the reserve team with Warren Joyce,” he told BT Sport. “I said in September I’d come back. So I started helping Joycey, and I was training with the reserves.
“I was training every day with the likes of Pogba, Lingard, all these types of players. They were a really good side and I was really enjoying training. I was getting fit, I felt great, and it got to December time and the team was struggling a bit.
“They had a load of injuries, no central midfield players were fit. They ended up playing Phil Jones and Fabio da Silva in central midfield in a game against Blackburn at Old Trafford.
“Funnily enough that was the end of Pogba, because he thought he should have been playing instead of them. But he wasn’t doing well enough.”
Scholes, who had retired briefly in 2011, came back after just six months for the Red Devils, and ended up playing a year-and-a-half more following the decision to end his playing career.
It is widely believed that Pogba’s decision to head to Juventus was largely due to the impact of Scholes in the United squad.
It’s been a tremendous season for Ian Henderson, particularly in the FA Cup, and now he and his side are one half away from upsetting one of the Premier League giants.
Henderson’s finish on the brink of halftime has put League One side Rochdale up 1-0 against Tottenham Hotspur, as the minnows aim to become the first non-PL side to advance to the quarterfinals in this season’s tournament.
A sloppy giveaway from Spurs near midfield created the attack for the hosts, and allowed Rochdale to capitalize on one of its few attacks during the opening stanza.
LISBON, Portugal (AP) Benfica routed Boavista 4-0 to move ahead of FC Porto at the top of the Portuguese league on Saturday.
Benfica is one point in front of Porto, which has two games to play.
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Ruben Dias opened the scoring for Benfica in the 18th minute when he headed in a pass from Jardel.
Jardel added a goal just before halftime. Boavista’s Nuno Henrique also scored an own goal before Raul Jimenez polished off the victory in the 90th.
Jonas had a penalty saved by Boavista goalkeeper Vagner with the score 0-0.
Porto hosts Rio Ave on Sunday. Sporting Lisbon is three points behind Benfica before visiting Tondela on Monday.