Zinedine Zidane is treating Sunday’s trip to Villarreal with the utmost importance as Real Madrid look to return to winning ways.
Zidane was left a frustrated man last weekend when Real dropped points for the first time this season in a 1-1 home draw against Real Valladolid.
Los Blancos dominated the match, but it took until 82nd-minute for Karim Benzema to put them ahead despite having 22 attempts on goal. Their slender lead, though, lasted only six minutes when Sergi Guardiola snatched a late equaliser for Valladolid.
It left a sour taste for the Bernabeu supporters, who hoped Real had left the troubles of last season behind them.
Having spent €305m on new players and promising better this time around, however, Zidane knows there can be no more excuses. Therefore, he’s challenged his players to treat the game against 13th-placed side Villarreal like a final.
“We’re treating it as the most important game of the season because it’s our next one,” said Zidane on the club’s website.
“We know that the points are important now at the start of the season. We want to go out and deliver a good performance.
“We’ve had a good week, it’s been a long one and the vibes are good. We now want to take those good vibes into tomorrow’s game.”
Villarreal, who finished 14th in La Liga last season, have gotten off to a poor start with just one point in two games this term.
Javier Calleja’s side followed up an opening day 4-4 draw against newcomers Granada with a 2-1 defeat to Levante last week. This suggests that Real could bag a few goals thanks to Villarreal’s defensive vulnerabilities.
However, Zidane refuses to drop his guard on Sunday’s opponents.
“Villarreal are very good in possession,” said the 47-year-old.
“They’re capable of making life difficult for you because they’ve got some good players. We’ve prepared well for the game during the course of this week.”