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Real prepare for final rehearsal before PSG tie
February 10, 2018
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Madrid: Just days before Paris Saint-Germain touch down in the Spanish capital, Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid have the chance to boost their fragile confidence when they face Real Sociedad in La Liga on Saturday.

The reigning European champions have been shipping a worrying number of goals in the build-up to their Champions League last-16 showdown with the likes of Neymar, Edinson Cavani and Kylian Mbappe.

Zidane’s side have kept just one clean sheet in their last eight outings, and they could pay a heavy price for any goals conceded against the French giants in next Wednesday’s match at the Santiago Bernabeu.

“It shows that we need to work even harder. That’s football -- whoever your opponents they are there to make things difficult for you,” said Zidane after last week’s disappointing 2-2 draw at Levante.

That result left Madrid fourth in the table, a point behind Valencia in third but with a game in hand.

Real Sociedad lie in the lower half of the table but they score goals for fun -- witness a 5-0 win over Deportivo La Coruna last weekend.

They also have one of the worst defensive records in Spain, so Cristiano Ronaldo -- who turned 33 this week -- will hope to fill his boots along with Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema.

Zidane’s side are still 19 points behind leaders Barcelona, who remain unbeaten, but the Frenchman refuses to completely give up on a successful La Liga title defence, publicly at least.

“I am always going to say that the league is not over. There are a lot of points to play for, but we dropped two in a game we were controlling,” he said of last week’s game, when Levante twice came from behind to draw.

“We needed to make it three straight wins and we couldn’t do it.”

Isco exit all ‘lies’

Meanwhile, Zidane has branded a report saying he wants to sell Spain midfielder Isco as “lies”.

“I have full faith in my team. I am one of those people who, when I start something, I go with it to the death. I believe in what I do, and I want Isco to stay here his whole life,” Zidane said at a press conference on Friday ahead of this weekend’s home clash with Real Sociedad in La Liga.

“Isco is a very good player. It is a lie, and I am answering in order to put an end to this,” added the Frenchman of the Spanish media report which claimed he had asked Real president Florentino Perez to find a buyer for the 25-year-old at the end of this campaign.

Barcelona have what looks like a straightforward home meeting with mid-table Getafe on Sunday, fresh from securing their place in the Copa del Rey final by beating Valencia on Thursday.

Agence France-Presse

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