Real played with a back three at Stamford Bridge but struggled to find their rhythm as Chelsea progressed to the Champions League final.
Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has defended his decision to play with a back three against Chelsea on Wednesday. The tactical change backfired as the Blues won the second leg 2-0 to reach only their third Champions League final with a 3-1 aggregate win. “The formation was very clear. We played with three at the back and two wing-backs. We play lots of games like that,” started Zidane in the post-match press conference.
“It didn’t come off for us because we lost a lot of duels and we were lacking something, that’s true, but we did our best and that’s football. Having said that, these are demanding games and we started off with some chances, if you get a goal things can change. But it went the other way and it was difficult because they had a lot of opportunities to score. They deserved the win and that’s that.”
Vinicius Jr., who often plays in the left flank, started as a right wing-back against Chelsea on Wednesday night. Speaking about his new position, Zidane said, “His position today was different to where he usually plays. But with three at the back we had to have two wing-backs. Vinicius Jr. could play there and that was the idea.”
“We had to set the team up like that tonight. Vinicius Jr. can do a job there; he prefers to play on the left but tonight he played as a right wing-back. He had the whole flank and he did a good job. We shouldn’t be looking for excuses there. If you look at the game, the opposition were deserved winners and that’s all there is to it.”
Zidane, who has also played for Real Madrid during his playing days, gave an insight into his substitution involving Vinicius Jr. “The first changes were for Vinicius Jr. and Mendy. I changed the wing-backs because we had to exploit that part of the pitch more and that’s what they did,” he elaborated.
“We had to be more clinical in the final third because we didn’t manage a goal and then it becomes difficult, and they created their chances too. In football, you have to take your chances. I’m proud of what we did in the Champions League and now we have to recover and think about the league.”