Real Madrid is out of La Liga title race: Zidane

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Madrid, Feb 28 (IANS) Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane believes his team is out of the La Liga title race after their 0-1 defeat here to Spanish football rivals Atletico Madrid.

Antoine Griezmann’s second-half goal secured a narrow 1-0 victory against the hosts to wrap up their third consecutive victory against their rivals at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday. The defeat leaves Zidane’s side nine points behind league leaders Barcelona, who are yet to play Sevilla on Sunday evening and could go 12 points clear at the top with a win.

“Before you ask, the league is over. It was always difficult. I told the players that if we lose points, it will be more difficult. We are not going to throw the league away though, whatever happens,” Zidane was quoted as saying by on Saturday.

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Atletico Madrid played out a 0-0 draw with PSV in the Champions League on Wednesday while Real Madrid had not played since a 1-1 draw with Malaga in La Liga. Real, on the other hand, had the entire week to prepare for the derby and the former French international was left under-whelmed by the result as he claimed that his side did not exploit any potential fatigue in their opponents.

“I’m not happy with the match and I’m not happy with the result. The important thing for me and the team is to think about the next game. We didn’t play the game how we prepared, so it’s here we had to work more,” Zidane said.

“When you play against a team who played on Wednesday you need to do more. They can’t go into the match and be comfortable and that’s what they did so it’s more difficult to take.”

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