Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane has warned his players they will be “put to the sword” by Juventus as they attempt to secure their place in the Champions League semi-finals.
Zidane’s men will welcome the Serie A leaders to the Bernabeu on Wednesday night carrying a 3-0 first-leg lead, but with their head coach insisting the job is far from done.
Speaking at his post-match press conference after Sunday’s 1-1 LaLiga derby draw with Atletico Madrid, the Frenchman dismissed suggestions his team are favourites to lift the trophy.
He said: “I’m not interested in any of that. We have to think about Wednesday’s game and do everything possible to get through.
“I’m not bothered about the past, just Wednesday night. We have to be driven, focused, not thinking about other things.
“Everyone is under some kind of illusion that we’re already in the semi-finals, and we mustn’t think like that. On Wednesday, we are going to be put to the sword and we need to get through it.
“We’ll try our best, we’ve gone through the whole season to get to this point.”
Real will entertain Juve having endured a frustrating afternoon as Antoine Griezmann snatched a point for Atletico after Cristiano Ronaldo had fired the the home side into a 53rd-minute lead.
Zidane said: “I’m happy with the match and how we performed because we clearly deserved more. It was a shame we didn’t get more from it, but we could have even lost the game at the end.
“In the first half, we created chances, but we didn’t score. Then in the second, we got the goal, but they made it difficult for us for 10 minutes after the goal and they levelled things up.
“We had a lot of chances and we did enough to win, but we didn’t get over the line. It’s a shame that we didn’t get the three points.”
Eyebrows were raised when Ronaldo was withdrawn with 27 minutes remaining, but Zidane
insisted the 33-year-old needed a rest.
He said: “We’ve got a lot of games and from time to time, he has to rest and that’s it. He’s clever and there are times when you have to rest.
“Nowadays he needs it and every time it does him good, you can see.”
Diego Simeone, whose side beat Sporting Lisbon 2-0 in the Europa League on Thursday evening, was satisfied with a draw as Atletico attempt to close the gap to runaway leaders Barcelona.
He said: “We wanted to win in order to cut distance to Barcelona, which is our objective at this stage in the season with just seven matches left.
“It was an important match and after working hard on Thursday, the lads made an enormous effort and we got the draw.”