Zidane: Real Madrid coach under pressure after Levante defeat
Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane is under mounting pressure following their shock 2-1 home defeat against Levante at the Santiago Bernabeu.
The home side lost a player within eight minutes of the game kicking off, when defender Eder Militao was shown a straight red card.
Madrid then took the lead four minutes later through Marco Asensio, before Levante amazingly hit back twice – and even missed a penalty – to secure the shock victory.
It leaves Zidane’s side seven points behind league leaders Atletico Madrid in the Spanish title race. However, Diego Simeone’s side have two games in hand, and should they pick up maximum points, they will be a staggering 13 points ahead.
With Real Madrid also out of the Copa del Rey, after losing to third division outfit Alcoyano in a historic result, Zidane’s only realistic chance of winning silverware this season is in the Champions League.
However, even that won’t be easy, as they face free-scoring Atalanta in the Round of 16.
There is real pressure on Zidane to forge a deep run in the competition that he’s already won three times as a coach and once as a player with Madrid.
Zidane’s second spell in charge hasn’t been nearly as successful as his first. A mixture of key departures, such as Cristiano Ronaldo, in addition to ageing players and new signings not proving successful has limited Zidane’s ability to mould a winning side.
Despite winning La Liga in 2019/20, Los Blancos have rarely shined since Zidane’s return, and it remains to be seen if he will be at the club come the start of next season.
Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois spoke in the aftermath of the 2-1 defeat and urged his teammates to keep going:
“You always have to fight,” Courtois said to the press. “[The league runs] until May. It’s true that they [Atletico Madrid] continue to win and are up there. We have to win and hope that the others lose.”