Real Madrid problems mental rather than physical – Zidane

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Zinedine Zidane admits Real Madrid’s problems this season have been mental rather than physical after his side hammered Valencia 4-1 on Saturday.

Real have endured a torrid season under Zidane, with the European champions sitting fourth in LaLiga even after their emphatic win at the Mestalla.

Pressure on Zidane has continued to mount, particularly after Wednesday’s shock Copa del Rey defeat to Leganes.

The Frenchman has conceded his future may depend on their crunch Champions League last-16 tie against Paris St Germain next month.

“A lot of times it comes down to your mentality, not your fitness. We’re suffering more mentally than physically,” Zidane said.

But Real delivered a statement victory against Valencia as Cristiano Ronaldo scored two penalties before Marcelo and Toni Kroos secured all three points late on.

Santi Mina’s header had given the home side temporary hope during a sustained spell of pressure in the second half.

But Los Blancos secured the win to move within two points of Valencia in third, but still 16 points behind leaders Barcelona.

“I’m under examination every day but I won’t change my ways,” Zidane said.

“I’ll keep working with my players and they should be congratulated because they put in a great performance today.”

Zidane added: “It’s exciting to see my players playing with such guile. We all know how tough it is to come to the ground and their team have done some great things in LaLiga.

“Winning 4-1 is no mean feat, so we really have to hand it to these players.”

One blip on Zidane’s successful afternoon came as Karim Benzema expressed his dissatisfaction at being substituted in the second half.

“No player enjoys being substituted,” Zidane said. “The result is what matters and Karim is feeling satisfied just like the others.”

For Valencia, this was their third-consecutive defeat after they lost to Alaves in the Copa del Rey, although won the tie, and were beaten by Las Palmas in the league.

“I think that the first half was very equal,” Valencia coach Marcelino said.

“Real Madrid didn’t do much but scored twice, both were penalties and it gave them the advantage – that made it tough for us.

“But with pride and purpose, we went into the second half and got close to equalising, but we paid for our efforts in the final stretch. The third goal saw us give up, thinking that we didn’t have a chance.”

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