Zidane: “Desire to win the league still alive” despite big upset

AP Photo/Manu Fernandez

Real Madrid isn’t immune to let downs, but Zinedine Zidane says that’s not what happened in Sunday’s historic and politically-highlighted 2-1 loss to Catalan club Girona.

“We have to analyze this game because if we lose it’s for a reason, but it wasn’t due to the attitude,” Zidane said.

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The back-to-back reigning UEFA Champions League winners are now eight points behind Barcelona in a race to defend their La Liga crown, and Zidane says their title dreams remain alive.

The margin for error has almost disappeared, putting added emphasis on Nov. 19’s Madrid Derby and further circling the Dec. 20 El Clasico at the Bernabeu.

If we’ve learned anything about Real Madrid, especially under Zidane, it’s that writing them off is a poor, poor idea. Madrid lost three of five league matches in Nov-Dec 2015, and still finished just a point behind Barca.

So where’s Zidane’s mind now? From RealMadrid.com:

“I’m only worried about the three points and having had the possibility to kill off the match. There was no lack of desire or intensity. We’re going to continue working like this as it’s served us well. It’s not that we don’t work. I’m not worried. In football small details matter. … The league isn’t a chore for us, it’s our day to day. It’s true that we dropped three points and it wasn’t expected. After four wins we didn’t expect this kind of match. The players’ desire to win the league title is still alive.”

It’s certainly not over, especially because Barca’s schedule hasn’t gotten thick yet. The Blaugranas drew 1-1 at Atleti but have yet to face Valencia, Sevilla, Real, or Villarreal. Of the same crew, Real has only met Valencia. So, plenty to play for.

For a team which has proven the potential to go on nearly year-long runs without a loss, Zidane’s mentality will play a big role in sorting this out quickly.