Football

Zidane believes the real Barca will turn up: 'Champions always turn up'

Real boss Zidane downplays Barcelona's poor form

 

El Clasico
BARCELONA REAL MADRID

Real Madrid are not fooled by Barcelona's stuttering form and expect a gruelling El Clasico tonight.

But, unlike their previous visit to the Nou Camp, they will play without any fear, coach Zinedine Zidane said yesterday.

Real lead the champions by six points going into tonight's crunch game and are unbeaten in all competitions.

In contrast, Barca have posted their worst points total after 13 games since the 2004-05 season.

The Catalan side have drawn three of their last four games and were held to a 1-1 stalemate by Real Sociedad in their last league match, which coach Luis Enrique called the worst display since he took charge of the team in 2014.

However, Zidane insisted that it will be a different Barca facing his side.

He said: "I'm not focusing on how they played in their last game, it will be a completely different performance.

"We're playing against the champions and champions always turn up in the big games, but we also have a team of champions.

"I want us to do what we’ve beendoing this season and take thegame to them and play well."Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane on tonight’s El Clasico against Barcelona at the Nou Camp

"This Barcelona side can cause us harm, I'm convinced about that.

"Every game is a new story, we know how we can beat them, but they don't have any weak points. It's a face-off between two great teams."

CONTRAST

Real's strong position in the standings contrasts with Zidane's first trip to Barcelona last season, when his side trailed Enrique's men by 10 points but pulled off a 2-1 win with a gritty defensive display and two late goals.

Zidane said his team would take a different approach tonight, although he dismissed the suggestion that Barcelona's position in the table meant they were under more pressure to take the three points.

"Last year, we went there feeling very nervous, but it's completely different this time around. I want us to do what we've been doing this season and take the game to them and play well," Zidane said.

“They say that the team are lacking control and thought.Well, Iniesta will bring that back.” Former Barcelona captain Xavi Hernandez, on Barca midfielder Andres Iniesta, who is available for selection after six weeks out with a knee injury

"We both need the points from this game, not just Barcelona. It's not any more necessary for them to win.

"We are top but we want to win. You want to prove yourself in every game and we want to do that in this game too."

Zidane is without record signing Gareth Bale and key midfielder Toni Kroos through injury, but Brazilian midfield anchor Casemiro is set to make his first start in over two months since breaking his leg. - Reuters

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