Madrid, April 22 (IANS) Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said on Saturday that he wanted to avoid seeing his side classed as favourites ahead of Sunday’s ‘El Clasico’ at home to bitter rivals FC Barcelona.
A win for Madrid in probably the biggest domestic club game in the world would all but assure them being crowned as Spanish league champions for this season, reports Xinhua news agency.
Zidane’s team certainly look to be in better form than Barcelona, who were knocked out of the Champions League by Italian giants Juventus on Wednesday.
However, speaking to the press on Saturday, Zidane was anxious to avoid putting extra pressure on his side to perform.
“There are no favourites, because it is a game in which you have to play, to fight and to work… We are not favourites; people might think that, but neither side is more favourite than the other,” he said.
Zidane also said that even if his side won it would not assure them the title.
“I don’t think it will be decisive, whatever happens. We have six finals to play and the first of them is tomorrow. From here to the end of the season, we will take it one game at a time. All of the games are decisive,” he insisted.
Zidane also confirmed that star winger Gareth Bale would be in the Madrid squad, but refused to say whether or not he would start on Sunday.
“You will find out tomorrow,” he said.
Barca coach, Luis Enrique was asked about Neymar, who is suspended for the game, but who could still play as Barca have appealed to the Spanish Court of Sporting Arbitration.
“We are prepared to play with Neymar in the side and without him,” said the man who will be stepping down as Barca coach at the end of the current campaign.
Unlike Zidane, Luis Enrique admitted the game’s importance to his side. “It is the last chance we have and the result could sentence the league,” he admitted.
“We are playing against the leader and our main rival. We have to be effective in what we do and not allow Real Madrid to show their class.”
“What we have to do is go out to win,… We have quality players who have recovered (after midweek). It would not be good to lose our options of winning the title, but this is sport and we have to understand that,” commented Luis Enrique.