Zidane under pressure to save Real Madrid job

Real Madrid coach Zidane is running out of time at the helm after its poor start to the campaign this season while losing three of its last five matches.

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane badly needs a win from a tough trip to Sevilla on Saturday to revive the La Liga champion's fortunes as it sits in an undignified fourth position.

Local media say the Frenchman has just two games to save his job after Real lost three of its last five in all competitions, and is seven points off top spot in its campaign to retain the Spanish title.

Zidane was defiant after the latest setback: a 2-0 Champions League defeat by Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday.

"I will not resign ... We've had tricky times in the past, and there will always be difficult times. It's a bad series of results, that's the truth, but we have to continue," he said.

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"I have the strength to continue and I'll give my all and so will the players."

Real's defence has looked vulnerable, especially without captain Sergio Ramos, who remains a doubt for the Saturday afternoon visit to his boyhood club with a hamstring issue.

Full-backs Dani Carvajal and Alvaro Odriozola will also likely be missing, as will midfielder Federico Valverde and forwards Eden Hazard and Luka Jovic.

The irony of the situation will not be lost on Sevilla boss Julen Lopetegui, who was sacked by Real and replaced by Zidane in October 2019. Sevilla is one point behind Real in fifth position with a game in hand.

Atletico Madrid, the division's only unbeaten side, could temporarily top the table when it hosts Valladolid on Saturday evening. Diego Simeone's side sits two points behind Real Sociedad though it has played two fewer games.

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Atletico forward Luis Suarez may be available if he returns a negative test after self-isolating for COVID-19, but strike partner Diego Costa is definitely absent with deep vein thrombosis.

Barcelona, who like perennial rival Real is also struggling, visits surprise package Cadiz on Saturday night.

The newly-promoted outfit, who sits one place above the Catalans in sixth, has already beaten Real this season.

Elsewhere, league leader Sociedad travels to Alaves in a Basque derby, while Eibar hosts Valencia on Monday.


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