Zinedine Zidane insists El Clasico result won't be 'decisive' in title race

Sports Staff
Real have a three-point lead over their rivals: Getty

Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane does not see the outcome of Sunday's match against Barcelona as "decisive".

LaLiga pacesetters Real have a three-point lead over the Catalan giants - and a game in hand - going into the El Clasico showdown at the Bernabeu.

Zidane's men are in good shape ahead of the contest, having set up a Champions League semi-final against city rivals Atletico with an aggregate win over Bayern Munich.

Yet the Frenchman told a press conference ahead of the match: "We'll need to start the game strongly and give it our all.

"Whatever happens, this will not be a decisive clash. We've got seven finals still to play and tomorrow is the first of those. We'll take it game by game because every single one is crucial."

Zidane said: "There are people who think we're over-confident but that's not the case. We're fully focused and not looking any further ahead."

"I don't think about our opposition, I focus on us. There's always pressure, but it's the pressure of knowing tomorrow is a crucial clash, nothing more. We're very confident in what we're doing."

Gareth Bale could figure for Real, despite limping out of Los Blancos' first-leg match against Bayern in Baveria.

On the Welshman, Zidane added: "He'll be with us tomorrow and we'll have to wait and see whether or not he plays."

Meanwhile, Barca midfielder Ivan Rakitic hopes Luis Enrique's men can bounce back from the disappointment of their Champions League exit and maintain the pressure on Real.

Rakitic told his club's official website: "We want to win this game. We need to and we are going into it with a lot of confidence.

Zidane has downplayed the significance of Sunday's Clasico (Getty)

"Nobody is hungrier for victories than us. Knowing the club and all its triumphs, we are very much up for more winning.

"With all due respect to Real Madrid, the most important thing is not how they are doing - but rather how we are doing.

"If we play at our level and we manage to control the game, I think we have a good chance to win this match."

Barca won last season's contest at the Bernabeu 4-0 and the Croatian is taking heart from that result, adding: "I have great memories of that win, not just because we won but also how we did it, because we were very much superior."

Neymar is likely to be missing because of suspension, although Barca have appealed against the decision.

Rakitic added: "He's one of the best three players in the world and it would be better to have him. But we've already show we can win without him."

PA

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