Zinedine Zidane: 'Real Madrid must work harder than ever'

Dennis Wise and Ian Wright

Zinedine Zidane says he knows his record as a Real Madrid player does not guarantee any prolonged career as the club's coach, especially after the side's dip in form.

Madrid now find themselves 16 points adrift of leaders Barcelona, with the small consolation of a game in hand to play, and Zidane has had to fend off growing criticism aimed at his underperforming players.

Zidane, 45, continued: "What you tell me is what a lot of people think: that there are people who are bad and I have to get them out of the team". I'm not someone who, when things are going wrong, will throw one or two into the s***.

"I have many responsibilities [as Real Madrid coach]".

Real Madrid's Francisco Roman "Isco" (left), shoots the ball next to Numancia's Unai Elgezabal during the Spanish Copa del Rey round of 16 second leg soccer match between Real Madrid and Numancia at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Wednesday, January10, 2018.

Big-spending French giants Paris Saint-Germain await them in the knockout stages of the Champions League, with the pressure beginning to build on boss Zidane.

However, they were far from convincing at the Bernabeu.

Madrid opened the scoring in the 11th minute, Vazquez heading home Dani Carvajal's deep cross when left unmarked at the back post.

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But on both occasions, their modest visitors fought back thanks to a brace from Guillermo on the stroke of half-time and then after 82 minutes.

With the teams 2-2 on aggregate, Leganes advanced on away goals after winning the first leg 1-0.

Moroccan global Nabil El Zhar scored the crucial away goal for mid-table Leganes on the half-hour mark.

Last year's runner-up Alaves defeated third-division team Formentera 2-0 to advance 5-1 on aggregate.

Three-time defending champion Barcelona hosts Celta Vigo on Thursday.

"The Barca model will stay the same", he said Wednesday.

However, the former Los Blancos midfielder is now claiming that his initial comments on a new goalkeeper were not meant to put pressure on the club's president, insisting that he just believes in Madrid's current crop of players.

"That's still the case today". But at the same time, Barca will continue to nurture young players at the training centre to maintain the style and identity.

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