Monday 23 April 2018

Zidane calls on fans to show the love

Zidane was concerned with the lack of support for his players. Photo: Reuters/Javier Barbancho
Zidane was concerned with the lack of support for his players. Photo: Reuters/Javier Barbancho

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

Zinedine Zidane called for fans to show more affection towards his Real Madrid players after the La Liga leaders claimed a nervy 2-1 home win over Malaga to stay two points clear of Barcelona, who won 4-0 at Eibar last night.

Two goals from Sergio Ramos return Real to winning ways following back-to-back losses.

However, Zidane was concerned with the lack of support for his players, which resulted in an edgy performance at the Bernabeu as boos rang out at times for Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo.

"Our fans are always very demanding, but sometimes the players and coaches need more affection," he said. "When we have difficulties, we need the fans to be calm and support the team."

Ronaldo suffered a frustrating day, hitting a post late on after seeing a shot cleared off the line, but Zidane brushed off concerns over his form.

"Karim and Cristiano might not have scored in recent games, but I'm not worried," he said.

Barca got back within two points - although Real have a game in hand - with an easy win, thanks to goals from Denis Suarez (his first for the club) Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar.

Valencia pulled away from the relegation zone with their second straight La Liga win away to Villarreal. Carlos Soler and Santi Mina both scored just before half-time.

The result highlighted the problems at Villarreal, who have gone three league games without a win.

In Italy, Juventus reasserted their control over the Serie A title race with a 2-0 victory over Lazio in Turin.,

Juve led within five minutes thanks to Paulo Dybala's brilliant strike from 20 yards before Gonzalo Higuain made it 2-0 after 16 minutes.

Napoli extended their unbeaten run in Serie A to 10 games with a 2-1 victory at AC Milan. Lorenzo Insigne finished off a swift Napoli counter-attack on six minutes before Jose Callejon swept home from a tight angle moments later.

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