Zidane: 'No repeat of buttock-clenching Clasico trip'

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane admitted he had "clenched buttocks" when he took his side to Barcelona last season - but is more optimistic this time round.

Zidane - Cropped

Madrid heads to Catalonia with a six-point advantage over its arch rival at the top of the table and hope to land a potentially decisive blow with victory at Camp Nou.

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane admitted he had "clenched buttocks" when he took his side to Barcelona last season - but is more optimistic this time round.

Madrid heads to Catalonia with a six-point advantage over its arch rival at the top of the table and hope to land a potentially decisive blow with victory at Camp Nou.

"It will be different to the last Clasico," Zidane told a news conference. "We went to Camp Nou with our buttocks clenched last year. Things are different now.

"There is no favourite for me, it is 50-50. We have studied Barcelona and they have no weak points, they are a very strong team.

"We expect a difficult game against a great opponent, but we have prepared for it and are ready. We are only thinking about putting in a good performance. We are not thinking about winning or losing. If we play well, the result will come."

Barca has recorded back to back draws in LaLiga, against Real Sociedad and Malaga, but Zidane is anticipating a difficult game.

"I think we can definitely get a good result if we replicate the intensity from the derby against Atletico," he added, reflecting on the 3-0 defeat of their near-neighbours on November 19.

"I do not expect Barcelona to play like they did against Real Sociedad, though. They are champions and champions always play well in big games. 

"Barcelona are behind us in the table, so you might think they need the points more than we do, but that is not the way it is. We have to show we are the best." 

Lionel Messi is the obvious dangerman for the hosts, however, Zidane insists he won't be singling the Argentine out for special attention.

"We know what Messi can do, he is one of the best players in the world," he said.

"We will watch him closely. But we have to keep an eye on all of them. They are all good players."

 

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