Wednesday February 24 2021
Zidane: 'It's still 50-50'

Zinedine Zidane insists the narrow 1-0 win over 10-man Atalanta does not make Real Madrid feel sure of Champions League qualification. ‘It’s still 50-50.’

His team was missing numerous players for this trip, but even then, failed to make much of a dent on an Atalanta side down to 10 men from the 17th minute for a very harsh red card on Remo Freuler.

They only won at the 86th minute with a Ferland Mendy curler using his weaker right foot from distance, so have the advantage going into the second leg.

“I did not expect it to be easy, as we know Atalanta are physically very strong and they proved it,” Zidane told Sky Sport Italia.

“We had a difficult game even against 10, but we scored a very important goal. That doesn’t mean anything, though, as we still need to play the second leg and it remains 50-50.

“Atalanta are a side who can cause us problems on our own turf. Our performance was so-so, but the result was good. With what we’d seen of them, we knew Atalanta were a very good team and it would be tough.”

Was Zidane surprised to see Mendy score with his weaker right foot?

“He has a right foot, I wasn’t surprised by the goal, no.”

In the press conference, the coach was asked about the very harsh red card.

“I don’t know if it was excessive, it’s up to the referee to make decisions. We did not play well, but the result is what counts. We tried to put Isco between the lines to give passes to Vinicius and Asensio, but the game changed after the red card.”