Zinedine Zidane is frustrated by Real Madrid’s injury problems and admitted it is not easy rotating his side between matches.
Defender Dani Carvajal suffered another injury setback this week, just three games into his comeback, and is now expected to miss the rest of the season.
Carvajal joins Lucas Vazquez, Ferland Mendy, and Federico Valverde on the sidelines, but skipper Sergio Ramos is back in training and could feature against Osasuna on Saturday.
Madrid face another tight turnaround in fixtures, with the LaLiga clash against Osasuna followed four days later by a Champions League semi-final second leg with Chelsea.
Zidane has suggested he will not rest any key players this weekend, though, as draw specialists Madrid seek just a second win in six matches in all competitions.
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“As a coach, of course, I am very frustrated with the relapses,” Zidane said at a pre-match news conference on Friday.
“I want my players healthy. I never want them injured, not even the smallest issue. When one relapses two or three times, I am not happy. But we have to always look forward.
“I can’t explain the number of setbacks. All teams have had problems. With the issues we’ve had, getting to this point and still being in contention means a lot.
“I’m very happy with the players’ character and what we have got out of them. We all believe in what we do, each one of us, and that is fundamental.
“It’s not easy to manage a squad like Madrid’s. Everyone has an opinion but inside it’s not easy. It’s my job and I do my best. It’s a rare year and we will continue to fight.
“Not everyone will be able to play tomorrow, but we cannot think about Wednesday before tomorrow. Whatever happens, in life, you have to think about doing it well tomorrow.
“This is what we are going to do – go out with the best possible team to win the three points. If you think differently, you don’t reach all of your targets.”
Madrid’s issues could be compounded for their trip to Chelsea next week as Marcelo has been called up to monitor a polling station during local elections a day before the match, which is poised at 1-1.
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However, Zidane has indicated that the experienced defender will still be part of Los Blancos’ traveling party next week.
“It is what it is,” Zidane said. “He is going to fulfill his obligations, but nothing changes. He will still be with us on Wednesday.”
Madrid have drawn two of their last three league games, but their hopes of retaining the LaLiga title were boosted on Thursday with Barcelona’s shock home loss to Granada.
Zidane’s side are level on points with Barca and are only two behind leaders Atletico Madrid, with fourth-placed Sevilla just a point further back.
Los Blancos have won their last 10 games against Osasuna in LaLiga, scoring an average of 3.3 goals per game, but Zidane is taking nothing for granted this weekend.
“The league is always complicated,” he said. “That will be the case right until the end. We cannot focus only on the defeats of our rivals – we have to look at ourselves.
“We want to win the league and will try until the end, but we can only think about tomorrow.
“We are in the mix, fighting. We are focused on the day-to-day and are preparing for the match. We are near the end of the season and we are concentrating on this.
“There are three points to play for and we are going to do everything to win them.”
Vanguard News Nigeria
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