Zidane on defensive as he explains Real Madrid’s shock defeat

Date published: Sunday 29th October 2017 8:21 - James Marshment

Zinedine Zidane: Happy with first Champions League win

Zinedine Zidane insisted Real Madrid’s LaLiga title defence is not over after a shock loss to Girona left them eight points behind Barcelona.

Isco gave Real an early lead but Cristhian Stuani equalised for the minnows in the 54th minute and Portu netted a stunning winner four minutes later.

Zidane said in Marca: “We lost three points, and we are eight behind, but nothing is going to change. Real can come back, we will have better days and our rivals will drop points.”

It was no smash-and-grab raid from Girona, playing in LaLiga for the first time in their history.

They hit the post twice in the first half and came closer to a third than Real did to an equaliser, but Zidane refused to be too critical of his side’s performance.

“I don’t think we played badly,” said the Frenchman. “We did not lack intensity, we tried hard, but that’s why the defeat bothers me. It’s more to do with lack of concentration. Their first goal was from a throw-in and we were not focused.”

The result was one of the more surprising in LaLiga history – but not for Girona coach Pablo Machin.

He said: “I had the utmost confidence we would win, even at half-time. I thought we were unlucky to be down 1-0. It was normal for us to not lose this game because our football made both goals possible.

“I have just been told that it is 30 years since a promoted team beat Real Madrid. We did it with style.”

Machin insisted the celebrations would not be over the top but recognised the significance of his side’s achievement.

He said: “If you would have told me three years ago that this would be possible, I would have thought you were crazy. This result is for those who have been following us a long time, they have always helped us.”

There was controversy over the winning goal, with Portu appearing to be marginally offside when he flicked in Pablo Maffeo’s cross-shot.

But the striker insisted it was no more than Girona deserved.

“In the first half, we were very good,” he said. “We hit the post twice and knew that if we kept working we would get our reward. Today, football has been fair.”

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