Zinedine Zidane was left clinging to his job as Real Madrid manager after the Spanish giants were humbled by third-tier side Alcoyano in the Copa del Rey last night. The embattled Real boss, who narrowly avoided the sack earlier this season, had warned there was no such thing as an easy game ahead of the tie and his decision to rest a host of star names spectacularly backfired. Alcoyano defender Jose Solbes forced an additional half an hour by cancelling out Eder Militao’s opener 10 minutes from time. Zidane responded by bringing on Eden Hazard, Toni Kroos and Marco Asensio but, after Ramon Lopez was dismissed for the hosts, Juanan claimed a historic winning goal with just five minutes remaining.
Asked if he still has the support of his players after the defeat Zidane said: ‘I think so but you have to ask them.
‘We have done good things, not so much lately, but apart from the last games we did good things this season. We have to concentrate on the things that can be done. ‘When you lose, you always talk. I take responsibility and whatever has to happen, will happen. I am very calm, the players wanted to win the game. They try and sometimes different things happen. You have to assume responsibility.’ ‘I am going to assume it, as always. The players have tried and if we score the second goal it is another match, football is like that.
‘The goalkeeper has made two or three saves and didn’t allow us to score the second goal. But I have the responsibility. We are out.’ The result comes less than a week after Zidane’s side were knocked out of the Spanish Super Cup by Athletic Bilbao which followed a disappointing goalless draw against Osasuna in the league. ‘We have tried, I think the players have left everything on the field,’ he added. ‘We had chances and when you don’t put them in, what happened to us can happen.
‘It is a difficult moment, we are out of the Copa, we had to do something else but we couldn’t. The players have tried. This is football, it is very difficult because we played against a Segunda B team and we have to win the game, but it didn’t go like that. ‘It’s not a shame, it can happen, it happens, these are things that happen in a football career. I assume responsibility and we will continue working. We will not go crazy.’