Monday 24 October 2016

Zidane 'not fully prepared' but targets Champions League

Real boss Zinedine Zidane
Real boss Zinedine Zidane

New Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane is targeting the Champions League title this season despite admitting he is not "fully prepared" to manage at the highest level.

The former France captain has replaced Rafael Benitez, who was sacked on Monday after just seven months in charge at the Bernabeu, and takes up his first role in senior management.

Zidane had been working as manager of the club's B team Castilla and inherits a side currently third in the Primera Division table and which faces Roma in the last 16 of the Champions League next month.

Yet the 43-year-old, who won the Champions League as a player with the Spanish giants in 2002, believes the club's own drive for success will make up for his own lack of experience.

"For me it is very simple, I'm very happy to be here," he told a press conference. "I have clear targets and I'm going to do everything I can to reach those targets.

"Good football has always been important at this place, and I am going to continue that. It has to be offensive football, balanced, and nothing else.

"I have seen a team that is focused, happy and switched on and we're all happy. To win is essential at this club. We are in the last 16, and the target always is to win the Champions League and I will try to make that possible.

"I've got good feelings, but I have to say never is a coach fully prepared, especially a coach who has never managed at this level before, but I feel kind of prepared. I have motivation and hope and all that will help me." Comparisons have been made with Pep Guardiola, who was a hero during his playing days at Barcelona before taking over as boss at the Nou Camp during a trophy-laden four-year spell.

Zidane is the 11th coach to be unveiled in club president Florentino Perez's reign, with Los Blancos currently trailing La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid by four points after 18 games.

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