Zinedine Zidane refused to blame his Real Madrid players after they slipped to a 2-1 defeat away at Valencia on Wednesday night. The Frenchman had overseen two wins since stepping back into the Real hotseat following the sacking of former team-mate Santiago Solari last month but Valencia were his first acid test.
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Los Che had been unbeaten in La Liga since January 5 and they extended that run thanks to goals from Goncalo Guedes and former Real defender Ezequiel Garay, with Karim Benzema’s header in injury-time scant consolation.
“We started the game strongly with good possession, pressing high up. We just needed to get that first goal,” Zidane told the club’s website. “I can’t blame the players for anything, they really tried hard. We played against a top team.
It’s a defeat and defeat always hurts. “We struggled to create chances, get shots off and come up with anything in the final third. We needed a little bit more near the opposition goal. “The team fought to the end. It’s a tough spell, a defeat, but we have to accept it and think about the eight games we have left. We have to focus on doing a better job on Saturday.”