Zinedine Zidane pleased Real Madrid are ‘still alive’ against Chelsea

The Spanish champions were outplayed for large periods of Tuesday’s first-leg but escaped with a 1-1 draw

Richard Martin
Wednesday 28 April 2021 09:32
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Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane
Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane

Zinedine Zidane is pleased his Real Madrid side are “still alive” in their Champions League semi-final with Chelsea.

The Spanish champions were outplayed for large periods of Tuesday’s first-leg but escaped with a 1-1 draw.

Real were on the back foot early on and went behind to Christian Pulisic’s goal but equalised thanks to a brilliant Karim Benzema strike before both sides cancelled each other out after the break.

“I’m so happy with the players because we’re still alive,” Zidane said.

“We struggled a bit for the first 25-30 minutes but then we improved and were much better in the second half and had control. We’re happy what we did in the game overall.”

Real had breezed past Liverpool and Atalanta in their last two home knockout games but were really put to the test by Chelsea’s intense pressing game and Zidane credited Thomas Tuchel’s side for keeping his team at bay.

“We are good at pressing teams high up the pitch but our opponents were very good, very competitive. They’ve had 21 games and not conceded in 16 of them (before Tuesday’s game) and they proved why. They are in the semi-finals for a reason,” he added.

Real keeper Thibaut Courtois, who made a vital early save to deny Chelsea forward Timo Werner, agreed that the Premier League outfit had been the more impressive side but warned that his team would put them under pressure in the second leg in London.

“They were more aggressive and more intense, we wanted to start the game like they did, they gave everything. The first goal came at a difficult time for us but we were able to lift ourselves up and the second half was less crazy,” he said.

“The 1-1 score means next week’s game is like a final. I don’t think it will end 0-0 and if Chelsea sit and wait for us they could be making a big mistake.”

Reuters

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