Real Madrid succumbed to a remarkable 2-0 defeat on Wednesday night in the Champions League at the hands of a determined and resolute Wolfsburg at the Volkswagen Arena in Germany and the coach Zinedine Zidane took full responsibility at the post-match press conference.
Madrid were overwhelming favourites going into the game but Zidane was aware of the qualities the opposition had which could hurt his team. But a tepid display in the first half meant his team was behind as Wolfsburg scored two early goals to stun the 10 time champions of Europe. Their talisman Julian Draxler continually terrorised the Real back-line in the first half.
Zidane, however, was quick to shoulder the blame after the match.
“I have all the responsibility, total, as coach. We will watch the game again, and analyse it. I am very proud of my players. I am responsible, and must look to see what happened.”
“We did not start with the necessary intensity for a Champions League game,” he said. “But this game we cannot be happy with. We will analyse it. It could be [due to] Saturday’s game, physically we have suffered, above all in the first half. We lacked, above all, mobility in all the lines, at the start.”
He admitted that he made some questionable decisions and forced changes.
“Danilo had to play too, to rest Dani, and that’s it,” Zidane said. “I ask the same from them both. I could have changed other players. Nothing to do with Luka, but I had to change something. Then we took off Toni, put in James, you want to see how things will change, nothing else. Today the substitutes did not work, they did not make a difference, for us to score a goal.”
“The only thing we can do is be calm,” he said. “I am not going to go crazy, the players neither.”
“Being Real Madrid we know we can turn this around at the Bernabeu with our fans.”
Not the end of the world
Zidane ended the interview on a note of cautious optimism of being better prepared than they were. He remains confident that his team can overturn the two goal deficit at the Bernabeu. In fact, Real has been on the receiving end of sensational comebacks. In 2003-04, at the same stage, Real thrashed Monaco in the first leg 4-2, only to lose the second leg 3-1 which ensured their elimination from the competition. A two goal deficit in the the later rounds of the Champions League is not insurmountable as the Los Blancos gear up to host Eibar on Saturday and then prepare for the second leg on 12th of April.