Real Madrid | Supercopa de Espana Slow start against Athletic
Zinedine Zidane knows that the Supercopa de Espana is a second-rate trophy, easily forgettable when you lose it and barely counting when you win it. This doesn’t mean it cannot have consequences.
In this four-team edition of the competition, any team can suffer a humbling defeat which throws up yet more questions surrounding its players and coach. This happened to Real Madrid on Thursday night.
Zidane went into the semi final against Athletic Club under scrutiny after his team’s recent run of tepid performances, which included draws against Elche and Osasuna.
The Supercopa is obviously not the priority for Los Blancos this season and, while the players were angry at having failed to progress to the final, it’s not the end of the world.
This was the message that Florentino Perez was reiterating to the squad and coaching staff after the loss in Malaga; that the competition was just a way of evaluating the season so far.
However, the doubts over the team continue to grow. Zidane has to take most of the blame, though the players should take responsibility for their attitude in the first half.
They threw the game away in the first 45 minutes, going two goals down thanks to a lack of motivation. The subsequent lack of reaction was evident, too, with Marco Asensio‘s display the only positive one.
We’d already seen the warning signs against Elche and Osasuna, but Zidane still failed to find a solution to Real Madrid‘s slow play.
The likes of Fede Valverde, Vinicius Junior and Martin Odegaard were begging to be given an opportunity against Athletic, but the Uruguayan isn’t on form, the Brazilian doesn’t have confidence and the Norwegian has disappeared altogether.
Nevertheless, Zidane didn’t taky any risks with his substitutes, going like-for-like with his changes. Mariano Diaz coming on for Karim Benzema in the 88th minute was the final straw.
The Supercopa disposed of Ernesto Valverde last season and, although the situation at Real Madrid isn’t as tense as that one at Barcelona, if Los Blancos continue to play in the way they did against Athletic, there will be trouble looming.