Zidane urges Real players to score sooner after another late show

Zidane urges Real players to score sooner after another late show

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane praised his side’s attitude after their late turnaround to beat Elche 2-1 in La Liga on Saturday but asked his players to score sooner to avoid more heart-stopping finishes.

Having snatched a 1-1 draw at leaders Atletico Madrid with an 88th-minute goal from Karim Benzema, Real found themselves trailing in the 61st minute but took all three points thanks to two goals from Benzema in the 73rd and 91st minutes.

“I liked our character but I’d rather we scored a little earlier,” Zidane told reporters.

“I prefer games that are a bit calmer.”

The last-gasp victory prevented Real slipping even further behind leaders Atletico Madrid and gave the team an emotional boost ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League last-16 second leg with Atalanta, which they go into holding a 1-0 advantage.

“This win is very positive for us, it was vital we kept up picking points for our league campaign and also to prepare for Tuesday’s game,” he said.

“We’re a team with character, we’re alive in two competitions and we’re going to keep fighting hard and keep believing in ourselves.”

The visit of 17th-placed Elche was far from the only time Real have struggled against the league’s less glamorous sides this season, particularly at home, where they have been beaten by Alaves, Cadiz and Levante.

Zidane added: “It’s true that we struggle against teams that sit back and defend, but when we played with pace and were patient with the ball we managed to score.”

latest stories