Zinedine Zidane has taken responsibility for Real Madrid’s Champions League defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk, calling the 3-2 loss “a bad game, a bad night” and vowing to “find the solution” ahead of El Clasico on Saturday.
Madrid trailed 3-0 at the Alfredo di Stefano stadium after a disastrous defensive display, before Luka Modric and Vinicius Junior scored in the second half.
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The result means Zidane’s team have lost twice at home in four days — after being beaten 1-0 by La Liga minnows Cadiz — to increase the pressure going into the high-profile clash with Barcelona at Camp Nou.
“It’s a bad feeling. Everything came together,” Zidane said in his postmatch news conference on Wednesday night. “We made a mistake with the first goal, and then we lacked confidence. It’s just as well my players reacted in the second half. It’s a bad game, a bad night. I’m the coach, I have to find the solution, I didn’t find it tonight.”
“We lacked a bit of everything,” he added. “Above all confidence, which is the most important thing… We know the situation we’re in. It’s our second bad game. Now we have to prepare our next game. It’s clear that I’m responsible.”
Madrid had started the 2020-21 season with a draw and three wins before this week’s slump — and are three points ahead of rivals Barca in the La Liga table, having played a game more.
“It makes me unhappy for the players. They’ve made me win a lot of things,” Zidane said. “They don’t deserve it, but that’s football. We have to think that today is grey and tomorrow the sun will come out.”
Madrid now face a tricky run of fixtures, with El Clasico followed by what are now must-win Champions League group matches with Borussia Monchengladbach and Inter Milan, as well as league games with Valencia and Villarreal.
Captain Sergio Ramos missed the Shakhtar defeat with a knee injury, but sources have told ESPN he’s expected to return in time to face Barca.
“We have to improve, that’s obvious,” veteran midfielder Luka Modric said. “There’s no time to feel sorry for ourselves. It’s good that [El Clasico] is coming… We haven’t forgotten how to play football. El Clasico is always different and we’ll be up to the level of the match.”