Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane must win the Champions League if he is to keep his job after the end of the current season.
January was not kind to Real, who were knocked out of the Spanish Super Cup in the semi-finals against Athletic Club before being humiliated by third-tier Alcoyano in the Copa del Rey, and the month ended in a 2-1 loss to Levante in La Liga.
With the Super Cup and Copa del Rey already gone, AS note that Real believe La Liga is also already out of their reach. Zidane’s side are ten points behind leaders Atletico Madrid, who also have a game in hand, and Barcelona recently edged them to second place.
Saturday’s loss to Levante effectively marked the end of their chances of winning the title, leaving the Champions League as the only trophy up for Zidane this year. If he wants to keep his job, he better earn it. No pressure.
It’s a feeling that only grew in the wake of that Levante defeat, but it actually started with the Copa del Rey elimination.
Zidane confessed he was under pressure again after being knocked out of two competitions in six days, and that was when rumors of a possible Madrid exit started to surface again. Concerns over Zidane’s management of the team had grown too great and the results were nowhere near enough to try to ignore this.
The boss is believed to only trust 13 or 14 first-team players and his treatment of fringe players has contributed to the sour mood, and Real think something needs to change.
It has been suggested that Real want to get to the end of the season with Zidane before letting him go this summer, and with the league title sliding further and further, that feeling has intensified. Some reports even thought he would be lucky to arrive at the end of January.
The chaos has left Zidane in dire need of lifting the Champions League trophy again, otherwise he looks set to find himself out of work.
As a result, the boss is expected to use La Liga games only as additional preparation for the Champions League games. A mass rotation is planned over the next few weeks in preparation for the last 16 meeting with Atalanta on February 24.
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