Zidane out to silence critics as injuries pile up at Real Madrid

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Los Blancos have drawn their last four matches and are without several key players against Betis on Saturday. But they need to return to winning ways..

The pressure is on once again for Zinedine Zidane. Even through the French coach led Los Blancos to the Champions League and then the UEFA Super Cup either side of the summer break, four consecutive draws have brought fresh criticism. The usual situation at Real Madrid.

Zidane’s side are back in action in La Liga on Saturday and during his pre-match press conference on Friday, the 44-year-old fielded a series of questions about his team’s fading form.

“I am not a magician,” he replied. But Zidane knows what is expected of a coach at Real and even though the criticism is harsh, with Madrid joint-top of the table and the defending European champions, it is the reality.

Not so long ago, the former midfield icon was seeking a record-breaking 17th league win in a row. But he has failed to earn a victory since and with Sergio Ramos, Luka Modric and Casemiro all sidelined, his team face a tough trip to Betis on Saturday.

The game in Seville will represent a test of his coaching skills, with many claiming that Zidane has no plan or playing style despite being in charge for more than nine months at the Santiago Bernabeu.

That is perhaps unfair at this stage, especially because Zidane has lost only one league game in his entire tenure so far. But the truth is that Madrid were slow out of the blocks in the recent draws at home to both Villarreal and Eibar.

“The players are very focused,” he said on Friday. “We will look for the solutions and try to win again.”

Cristiano Ronaldo has scored only once in his four league appearances for Madrid this term and Zidane will hope the 31-year-old can build on his five goals in two games for Portugal over the international break.

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