CompetitionsLa Liga

Zinedine Zidane sets sights on LaLiga title after Champions League exit

Zinedine Zidane vowed to respond to Real Madrid’s Champions League exit by winning the “four cup finals” which conclude the LaLiga run-in.

With Real trailing city rivals Atletico by three points after the latter drew with Barcelona, Sunday’s game against Sevilla is followed by trips to Granada and Athletic Bilbao before the season concludes with a home game against Villarreal.

Zidane told the club’s website: “We know what we’re playing for, four more finals to end LaLiga and we just have to forget about the Champions League and think about tomorrow’s game.

“What I can assure you is that we’re going to compete for this title until the very end.”

Madrid captain Sergio Ramos will be absent as the club continue to assess tendonitis in his hamstring, while fellow centre-back Raphael Varane has an abductor injury.

Ferland Mendy, Dani Carvajal and Lucas Vazquez are Real’s other absentees as youngsters Miguel Gutierrez and Antonio Blanco step up to the squad.

Zidane said: “I do have concerns because there are many things, many injuries. It is a particular year, there are players who never rest between the national team, the Champions League, the league, the cup.

“Sergio unfortunately has suffered from the injury. The other day he played because he was 100 per cent. After 90 minutes, he suffered from something.

“The first one who suffers is him because he cannot be with the team in this final stretch of the season and he would have liked it. Now we have to think about the players who are going to be there.”

Zidane was relaxed over his future at the club, adding: “At the moment it’s me (as coach). We will see what will happen.”

He will pit his wits on Sunday against Julen Lopetegui, who briefly replaced him at Real in between the Frenchman’s two spells at the club.

Lopetegui, quoted in Marca, said of his opposite number: “Zidane’s work speaks for itself, there’s no room for doubting his ability. He’s the ideal coach for where he is.”

A win would keep fourth-placed Sevilla’s own admittedly slim title hopes alive and Lopetegui said: “We are where we are because we’ve had a very good year. We’re going to fight in every match to improve the situation we are in.

“We haven’t beaten them in the last three… but tomorrow is another match, we’re not looking back.

“The focus on the next objective – beating a big team – gives us the strength to go for it.”

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