Real Madrid’s troubled season lurched further into crisis as coach Zinedine Zidane described their elimination from the King’s Cup by humble neighbours Leganes as a “fiasco”.
It is almost a year ago to the day that Madrid’s record 40-game unbeaten run in all competitions ended as they swept all before them, but this season has been a tale of woe for the La Liga and European champions.
“It’s a fiasco. My worst moment as a coach,” Zidane told a news conference. “I don’t regret anything I did in the game, though. I take responsibility for what I do. Winning 1-0 from the first leg to start tonight’s tie in the manner we did it’s really bad. For that I’m angry. I don’t understand what’s going on.”
Madrid, who lost 2-1 to Leganes to exit the competition on away goals, have slipped to fourth in the La Liga standings, trailing leaders and arch-rivals Barcelona by 19 points.
In 18 games in all competitions at the Bernabeu stadium this season they have won just times, losing four and drawing five including two 2-2 draws in the Cup against third tier opposition in previous rounds.
However, Cup elimination by a side who had never won at the Bernabeu in their history after taking a 1-0 lead into the second leg was a new low.
Despite lifting eight major trophies in just over two years in charge, the pressure is mounting on Zidane to turn things around or face the fate of so many of his predecessors.
The Frenchman admitted Real’s season boils down to next month’s Champions League last-16 meeting with in-form Paris St Germain.
“Yes, that’s clear,” he said when asked if his future depended on the European tie.
“I’m responsible for this, I’m the boss. I have to find the solutions. We’ve found some of them but not consistently enough. I need to take responsibility and I’ll always fight.” (Editing by Ed Osmond)
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