Zinedine Zidane is no stranger to the hot seat at Real Madrid, and the pressure is back on the legendary player and manager after Los Blancos’ embarrassing 2-1 loss to Alcoyano in their first – and final – Copa del Rey match of 2021.
Going into extra time against Alcoyano was bad enough, but eventually losing the game? Unconsciable. Real Madrid cannot lose matches like this to a third-division team, and it was alarming how lackluster they looked.
Los Merengues held the ball for much of the match yet did nothing with it in terms of chance-creation, and forwards Vinicius Junior and Mariano Diaz looked totally ineffective and inept against Alyocano’s defense. Zidane’s adjustments proved to be too little, too late.
Following the loss, Zinedine Zidane told reports that he does not see the defeat to Alyocano as a “disgrace”. Here is the quote from ESPN.com’s Adriana Garcia.
"I’m the coach, the responsibility is mine. I’m responsible. We’ve played against a third division team and we should have won but it’s not a disgrace."
I can understand why Zidane would be so hesitant to call the result a “disgrace”, because he does not want to throw the players under the bus or even diminish the quality of the opposition.
But that performance WAS a disgrace. If that match isn’t a “disgrace” to Madridistas, then I do not know what else is. Because that was humiliating.
So few players can say they played well in this game. Lucas Vazquez and Eder Militao did all they could, and Marcelo and Isco were much better than in past matches. But Vinicius, Mariano, Alvaro Odriozola, Casemiro, and so many others didn’t look like they belonged on the pitch. Considering how important Case and Vini were to Real Madrid in the 2019-2020 title campaign, their poor displays were especially disappointing.
Zidane turned things around for Los Blancos in December the last time he faced the hot seat after a second loss to Shakhtar Donetsk. This defeat to Alcoyano is a new low for Real, so more work needs to be done by EVERYONE at the club. Zidane gets the most heat, but he cannot bear responsibility for these poor performances alone. They disappoint as a team and must respond as a team, in turn.
But make no mistake, this result was truly a disgrace. Real Madrid cannot play this poorly again. There would be consequences, with Zidane feeling the majority of them.