Zi­dane not wor­ried about first de­feat in 40 games de­rail­ing Real’s sea­son

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT -

MADRID: Real Madrid coach Zine­dine Zi­dane is con­fi­dent that a first de­feat in nine months which ended the club’s record 40-game un­beaten run in all com­pe­ti­tions will not have a detri­men­tal im­pact on their sea­son.

Real, bidding for their first La Liga ti­tle since 2012, lost 2-1 to Sevilla on Sun­day, con­ced­ing two goals in the last five min­utes to leave them­selves one point clear of Sevilla at the top of La Liga and two ahead of fierce ri­vals Barcelona.

“It won’t af­fect any­thing,” Zi­dane told his club’s web­site yes­ter­day. “We knew that the run would come to an end at some point.

“I’m very proud of my play­ers and the 40-game un­beaten run,” he added.

Since los­ing 2-0 to Wolfs­burg in the Cham­pi­ons League last sea­son, Real had won 30 matches and drawn 10, scor­ing 115 goals.

Then came Sun­day’s painful re­v­erse, which started with an own goal from former Sevilla de­fender Ser­gio Ramos and was fol­lowed by Ste­van Jovetic’s strike two min­utes into stop­page time.

“We’re hurt­ing af­ter the de­feat,” Zi­dane said.

“We need to chan­nel this de­feat be­cause no­body likes to lose, es­pe­cially in this man­ner.

“But that is foot­ball and now we’ve got to rest up.”

Ramos re­mained up­beat fol­low­ing his blun­der, par­tic­u­larly as Real have a game in hand on all their ri­vals.

“Des­tiny is still in our own hands, we’re still top,” he said. “We face the steep­est moun­tain of them all and it’s a case of see­ing who gets to the top first and who’s able to hold on in there.”

Real, who have also reached the last 16 of the Cham­pi­ons League which they won last year, host Celta Vigo in a King’s Cup quar­ter-fi­nal first leg to­mor­row be­fore play­ing Malaga in La Liga on Satur­day. – Reuters

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