SHOWS: MADRID, SPAIN (FEBRUARY 29, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)
1.(SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) REAL MADRID COACH ZINEDINE ZIDANE SAYING:
"We will need our fans on our side from the first to last minute. I can understand why our fans are upset but we need them and they need us and at the very least we will give everything on the pitch"
2. WHITE FLASH
3. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) REAL MADRID COACH ZINEDINE ZIDANE SAYING:
"Yes, heart, head, unity. The second thing is better for us. It's the mood of everyone here. We're going to play a very nice game and think we have a chance to make a great game."
4. WHITE FLASH
5. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) REAL MADRID COACH ZINEDINE ZIDANE SAYING:
"If we lose two games I'm going to get criticized and that's what's happening. What I have to do is keep fighting with my players. I've got my players who are the best and we're going to try and get them out. It's a delicate moment but we're going to try to win something, we have to be positive."
STORY: Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said on Saturday (February 29) his side are in a delicate situation as they prepare to host arch rivals Barcelona in a La Liga title showdown on Sunday (March 1) amid a downward spiral of results which has left their season in limbo.
Zidane's side held a three-point lead over Barca at the top of the table two weeks ago but defeat to the Catalans would see them slip five points behind them with 12 games remaining.
Their hopes of remaining in the Champions League meanwhile are hanging by a thread after Wednesday's last-16 first leg against Manchester City in which they conceded two late goals to lose 2-1.
"We will need our fans on our side from the first to last minute. I can understand why our fans are upset but we need them and they need us and at the very least we will give everything on the pitch," Zidane told a news conference ahead of Sunday's 'Clasico'.
Real is without injured forwards Marco Asensio and Eden Hazard plus the suspended Rodrygo but French defender Ferland Mendy will return after he was rested in last week's defeat to Levante to ensure he would not be suspended against Barca.
This is the second moment of reckoning for Zidane this season after a heavy defeat to Paris St Germain in September and a loss to minnows Mallorca in October left him fighting for his job.
The team responded by tightening up their defence and going on an unbeaten run of 21 matches, although Zidane warned last month that it would only take a couple of bad results for him to be back in the firing line.
"I said if we lost two games I would get criticised and that is what is happening. All I can do is keep fighting with my players," he added.
(Production: Raul Cadenas, Elena Rodriguez)