Zidane insists Real Madrid are still motivated despite lack of trophy chances
Zinedine Zidane admits it is difficult not to be aiming for trophy success at Real Madrid this season but believes his players showed motivation to come from behind and beat lowly Huesca.
Karim Benzema scored a last-gasp winner to secure a 3-2 win and spare Real Madrid’s blushes against LaLiga’s bottom club.
After falling behind early on to Cucho Hernandez’s strike, Zinedine Zidane’s side thought they had turned things around through Isco and Dani Ceballos.
But the lowly visitors levelled through Xabier Etxeita, only for Benzema to settle the game with a stunning 89th-minute strike.
Zidane won three Champions League titles in a row before leaving the Bernabeu but is now back at the helm and does not have the chance to add to his silverware this season.
“At a team like Madrid, when you know you will not win a trophy, it is difficult, in moments during games,” he told reporters after the game.
“That is normal. But we are all pros here and will try and finish the season as well as possible – motivation is intrinsic and each player has their own.”
Zidane also explained his decision to pick his son as Luca Zidane made his first competitive appearance of the season, starting in goal for the win.
“I was not picking my son, but a player in Real Madrid’s squad,” he said.
“I see him as one other player for the team. I am happy for him, for his debut here, with a victory.
“But that is Luca, he is the third keeper. Thibaut (Courtois) was out and I wanted to give Keylor (Navas) a rest after playing with his country. It came out well.”
Madrid confirmed on their website on Saturday evening that Courtois was suffering from tendonitis and it remains to be seen if Navas will come back in for Thursday’s trip to in-form Valencia.
Meanwhile, Benzema’s long-term future remains in doubt but Zidane insists he will keep faith in the 31-year-old who could be set for a summer move away.
“This year is maybe Karim’s best year,” Zidane added.
“I will count on him, there are nine games left, and that is the most important, to finish the season well.
“Then we will see what happens, but Karim is a player at this club. I don’t believe that will change.”