In a ‘new look’ El Classico with both sides struggling at the start of the La Liga season, dropping points for either side was an unthinkable outcome. However, for Ronald Koeman and Barcelona that is exactly what happened. Meanwhile, Zidane’s arguably defensive tactics paid off and the Frenchman’s guile proved the difference.
Zidane backs his team
Zidane’s side, although victorious, were criticised for the way they approached the game. But the Frenchman knew the importance of picking up a win in the Nou Camp.
“That’s not what we’re here for, to shut them up,” Zidane said.
“We do our job, believing in what we do, being together when we have to be and that’s what we did. We did it as a team, I’m very proud of them.
“When it comes to defending we had a compact block. Then with a rival open like Barca, we’ve found gaps two or three times and in the end, it’s about trying to play a good game as a team and that’s what we did.”
Modric proved again, despite his age, that he remains one of Europe’s best midfielders. Zidane spoke of his happiness for his side and the Croatian in particular.
“We played a good game, playing against a team that we know is open, that played well,” he said.
“I’m happy for the players because in the end it’s about that, after the last few days of everything they said. I am happy for them and also to finish with Modric’s goal.”
— Goal South Africa (@GoalcomSA) October 24, 2020
Real Madrid moved up to the top of the Primera Division with the win, Atletico Madrid two points behind with a game in hand.
Koeman’s VAR frustration
Not enjoying his first El Classico was Dutch coach Ronald Koeman. The former Everton and Southampton boss was left with no reticence when speaking about the video referee.
“I don’t understand VAR, I think it is only used to make decisions against Barca,” said the Dutch coach.
“You always get shirt tugs like that in the area and I think Ramos makes a foul on Lenglet first. There’s a tug of the shirt, but not enough to make him fall behind as he did. For me it’s not a penalty.
Did Sergio Ramos deserve this penalty he drew on Clément Lenglet? You be the judge 🧑⚖️
— Yahoo Soccer (@FCYahoo) October 24, 2020
“We have had five matches and has only been used to go against Barca. It’s never gone our way.
“The decision had a big influence on the final result, because we were playing well up to the penalty.”
Some will be quick to point out that for a decision to be given in the Blaugrana’s direction they would need to deserving of one. VAR is not there to support one team over another although it may seem like it from the perspective of a begrudged coach.
Barcelona sit in a staggering 12th place in the league after 5 matches. History will remember the length of time given to Barca coaches and the pressure will already begin mounting if Koeman fails to turn the tide on Barca’s plummet.