Gareth Bale praised manager Zinedine Zidane’s calm demenor in the face of pressure. Bale said that the manager never lets signs of stress show to the rest of the team, regardless of the situation.
Zidane was the surprising choice of replacement to Rafael Benitez in January 2016. Since taking the manager position the former french international has enjoyed success at the club, winning the Champions League. During this time Real also set a new record of invincibility in Spain. Zidane’s team had a 40 game streak without losing.
Real recently lost the first spot in La Liga. Below par results against Valencia and Las Palmas have given Barcelona the opportunity to get back into the title race. However, Gareth Bale says that manager Zidane is staying calm under the pressure of recent results.
“Zidane is very calm,” Bale told The Sun.
“He just knows the psychology of football. He was the world’s best player for years.Whereas other managers get angry and upset and make the team a bit scared, if we lose he will say: ‘Keep calm, keep working hard’. He has shown us what he has got on the training field, though.”
Real will continue their bid for further Champions League glory when they face Napoli on Tuesday. The Madrid side won the first leg of the last-16 tie with 3-1 and will be confident they can progress to the next round.
Zidane spoke about the team’s recent form. He told the press he remains confident of his players despite recent criticism for the likes of Ronaldo, Bale and Benzema.
“Everyone is here with an opinion every week. People change their opinion every week. I’m happy to have all my squad available except two or three that we’ve left at home. We’re all here and I’m happy for that. Everyone is free to have an opinion and decide who they think should play but it doesn’t bother me too much.”
His time as a world-class player has made the frenchman familiar with this type of atmosphere. Zidane also referred to his side’s chances of qualifying at the expense of Napoli to the next Champions League stage.
“I’ve lived this atmosphere here as a player. It’s never been an easy place to come,” Zidane said. “It’s a stadium where the fans really get behind their side, they are really involved in the game.”
“But at the same time it is very nice. I like atmospheres like that when the fans get behind the team. It’s nice for their side but it is nice for the rival as well. It’s an extra motivation. I think it will be very intense and quick from the start. They have to score.”
“They are a team who can play in two different ways. They can pressure you or they can try and do something different by playing quickly on the counter attack. We know they’re a good side. They can do great damage to the rival.”