Real Madrid manager Zinédine Zidane is looking to build on last season’s success with a win in the UEFA Super Cup against Manchester United on Tuesday.
How important is it to start the season well in the UEFA Super Cup?
Zidane: It’s crucial. We know how important the first competitive fixture is. On the other hand, it doesn’t mean that much either. The truth is that we were great for the whole season and not just the first six months where we didn’t lose until January. The whole season was massive for us. We lost very few games and, in the end, we were very successful. Our goal is still the same. We have a good squad and a team that can try to repeat it.
The good thing with this club and its history is that we know where we are and the players are motivated and hungry to win more.
You have won the UEFA Champions League twice as a coach despite being in charge for just 20 games in the competition. Have you been surprised by how well things have gone?
Zidane: Yes, but at the same time, I’m here – I’m the manager of this club, and I know where I am. It might be surprising because at the end of the day a managerial career is so short, but I’m passionate – I’m always hungry to win.
Do Madrid always set the target of winning every competition they are involved in?
Are you now targeting a third successive UEFA Champions League success?
Zidane: Yes, it’s true, and it’s not going to be easy. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s a target we have and we’re going to try to fight for it. We managed two back-to-back, so we’re going to try [for a third].
Are you expecting any surprises in this season’s UEFA Champions League, or do you expect the big clubs to dominate as usual?
Zidane: Well, there can always be surprises, because there are no small clubs these days, but I think the big sides are very good too – and it wasn’t an easy task to win it last season.
This year will be the same, or tougher because when we turn out to play against our opponents, they’re going to be thinking they’re playing a big club, a team that’s won the Champions League twice, but that’s how it is.
Madrid have brought in some excellent young players this summer. How do you view those players?
Zidane: It’s always been the club’s philosophy to have the best players, and even more so when they’re young and Spanish. The most important thing is that the new signings understand where they are. We are going to teach them that.