Real Madrid have earned chance to win La Liga - Zinedine Zidane
Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane says his team deserve to be just one point from winning the La Liga title, and they aim to finish the job in style by beating Malaga in Sunday evening's final fixture.
Madrid travel south three points clear of second-placed Barcelona in the table, with the Catalans' only chance of a dramatic turnaround being a win at the Camp Nou against Eibar along with a defeat for Zidane's side at La Rosaleda.
Asked at the pregame news conference if he thought everyone outside his club wanted Madrid to fail, Zidane said such things did not bother him or his players who had earned their opportunity to win the title through their own hard work and commitment through the year.
"I don't know about everyone, but many people for sure do not want Madrid to win it," Zidane said. "It has always been like that, but that does not bother us.
"We know where we are. We know we must win it on the pitch, as we have done until now, working hard, battling, never letting our hands down. It is very difficult to win La Liga over 38 games.
"Every week, or every three days sometimes, you must show that you want to win it. And we have done that. We deserve to be first at the moment, but we must finish it now in the last game. It will be the most difficult for sure."
There have also been some pundits, especially in Catalonia, questioning whether Malaga coach Michel, an ex-Madrid player, might be happy to see his old side seeing off Barca's challenge to claim the title.
Zidane dismissed such talk and pointed out that Malaga had been in excellent form recently having taken 13 points from their last five games.
"I just look at what we have to do ourselves," Zidane said. "For sure we will have a difficult game, they have been phenomenal. It will be more difficult than on Wednesday. They are a very good team, who have had very good results, and have been playing very well. The last three games have been tough, Sevilla, Vigo and tomorrow another game."
Even though one point will be enough for Madrid to take the title, Zidane said his team would be aiming to ensure a victory.
"We are not going to change anything," Zidane said. "Our idea is to come out at 100 percent and be focused on what we must do. We will go out to win the game, as always. That is the DNA of this club. Then we will see what happens, but we only think about a victory."
Injured duo Gareth Bale and Dani Carvajal have stepped up their recoveries this week and are aiming to return for the Champions League final against Juventus in Cardiff on June 3, but will not be available for this game, although the entire squad is set to travel to Andalusia Sunday morning.
"We are all travelling tomorrow," Zidane said. "We are all important and must be there for the two games that are left."
Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan