A poor run of form at Real Madrid has mounted the pressure on Zinedine Zidane, who now faces a race against time to turn things around.
Real Madrid have now lost two consecutive matches on the bounce, 1-0 against Cadiz in La Liga and 3-2 in the Shakhtar Donetsk. Both of Los Blancos’ defeats came on home soil and against opposition who they should be defeating comfortable. Not to mention, Zinedine Zidane got his tactics wrong in both fixtures and therefore, saw his side get outplayed.
Diario GOL has now claimed that the Frenchman is now walking a tightrope and faces the sack if results and performances don’t improve in the upcoming fixtures. Zidane now has just two matches to prove that he is the right man for the world’s hottest coaching job as the Merengues visit Barcelona and Borussia Monchengladbach in the coming week.
Zidane took complete blame for the midweek defeat in the Champions League and promised to look for a solution in the coming days. Real Madrid’s next match is at the Camp Nou, a stadium in which Zidane is yet to suffer defeat as a manager. Despite being in the earlier stages of the season, a good result in El Clasico could swing the title race in the winning side’s favour.
Nonetheless, the defending La Liga champions will have 32 matches in hand after the visit to their fiercest rival which is enough time to turn fortunes around. In a bid to do so, Florentino Perez and his board has lined up two replacements for the current under-fire coach. Mauricio Pochettino and Raul Gonzalez are those who have been credited with interest.
Mauricio Pochettino was fired by Tottenham Hotspur last year and has since been without a job, despite being linked with Barcelona of late. The former Espanyol manager has always been admired by Los Blancos and has been open about his desire of coaching the 13-time European champions.
Spurs achieved some incredible things under him, which included a Champions League Final and a second-place finish in the Premier League. The Argentinian manager will surely be a great addition to the La Liga side but his biggest challenge will be to control a dressing room full of superstars- something he has not tried to do just yet.
Raul Gonzalez on the other hand is a homegrown choice and the approach towards him is familiar to what Real Madrid took when Rafa Benitez and Julen Lopetegui were sacked midseason. The Castilla coach will be promoted to a senior role on an interim basis and should results permit, the second all-time top scorer in Madrid’s history will get a fixed role.
Under their former captain, Real Madrid Castilla have done a solid job and won their first UEFA Youth League title in the 2019/20 season. Given that he is a club legend and forms a crucial part of the existing club structure, Raul is bound to have the admiration and respect in the squad that Zidane has and could be an equally good addition as well.
Tactically, Pochettino is obviously more experienced and arguably the better fit, but Raul will bring his command over the dressing room and that will be something very crucial in keeping a squad of vastly talented individuals satisfied. For the time being though, Zidane is head coach and his response in the next two matches will have to be seen.