Real Madrid’s Champions League preparation unaffected by Sevilla loss – Zidane

Real Madrid players react after conceding a goal to Sevilla in La Liga.
Real Madrid players react after conceding a goal to Wissam Ben Yedder in a 3-2 loss to Sevilla.

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said that his team’s latest domestic stumble, a 3-2 La Liga defeat at Sevilla on Wednesday evening, will not affect his side’s preparations for their Champions League final against Liverpool on May 26.

A heavily rotated Madrid XI went behind midway through the first half when Wissam Ben Yedder got behind marker Sergio Ramos and steered a shot past goalkeeper Kiko Casilla, with the visiting defence cut open again before half-time as Miguel Layun slammed the second to the net.

Ramos had a chance to pull one back from the penalty spot after half-time, but his spot kick slammed against the crossbar. The Madrid captain’s eventful evening continued when he put through his own net, for a second consecutive season against his old side.

Substitute Borja Mayoral got one back with a neat header late on, before Ramos stepped up again and this time converted his penalty awarded in added time.

Madrid have now won just two of their last six La Liga games, however, Zidane told the postmatch news conference that it would not change how they approached the remainder of the campaign.

“We are disappointed today, but it will not affect us at all,” Zidane said. “Tomorrow we will be back to work, we have another game on Saturday [at home to Celta Vigo], and that’s it. When you lose, you cannot be happy, but it will not affect what we do until the end of the season.”

Zidane refused to criticise defender Ramos for a performance which mixed defensive errors with grabbing the ball for both penalties his team were awarded.

“Sergio is our captain,” he said. “Every time we come here something happens with him. But he was focused on the game. He was not perfect with the [missed] penalty, but that can happen. But he was good, like the others, above all in the second half.”

Madrid dominated possession against a Sevilla side organised to soak up pressure, but had just one shot on target before they found themselves three goals behind. Zidane accepted that they had created very little for much of the game.

“We were good in most areas, but we did nothing in the last 30 metres, nothing on the second line, nothing to worry the opponent,” he said. “Above all the first half, the second half we had better movement. But it was our own fault, we should have shown a bit more.”

Last year’s champions remain in third place, three points behind Europa League finalists Atletico Madrid, with two games remaining. Zidane denied he had erred by leaving big names including Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, Keylor Navas and Marcelo back at home in the capital.

“When you look at the team we put out, it is a team which could easily have won,” he said. “I am not sorry at all about the team picked. It is a pity as these are the players who play less, but we cannot reproach them, they nearly turned it around at the end with the two goals.

“All the players I have are top players, and sometimes some players have to rest. We cannot be happy with all our results in La Liga, but we can be happy with how we have played through the season.”