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Real Madrid v Atletico Madrid: Preview

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Atletico MadridAtletico Madrid
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Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane is remaining focused on Saturday's crucial Primera Division derby against Atletico at the Santiago Bernebeu as his coaching ability continues to be questioned.

Zidane saw his side effectively relinquish any remaining hopes of catching title-rivals Barcelona after last Sunday's draw at Malaga left them nine points off the lead.

And he is well aware his own credentials are still being questioned after he was parachuted into the top job earlier this season following the departure of Rafael Benitez.

Zidane told a press conference: ``I hear a lot of people doubting my abilities as a coach but everybody can think freely - I just concentrate on my own work.

``We are playing against a great team that has got a great coach who is very important for his team. They are a very competitive side, and I have to find the key to win.''

Zidane's hopes have been dealt a blow by the absence of Marcelo due to a thigh strain. Gareth Bale and Pepe remain on the sidelines but Karim Benzema is back after missing the Malaga draw.

Zidane added: ``It's a special game - it's a derby. I'm going to focus my players on what they have to do, which is to give their all. I want to see a good game of football and I'm sure we will have that.''

Atletico also saw their title hopes hit by last weekend's goalless draw against Villarreal - which they followed by drawing another blank in their midweek Champions League trip to PSV Eindhoven.

But if Diego Simeone's men face an equally impossible task of catching runaway leaders Barcelona, Simeone could at least seek solace in staying one point ahead of their city rivals.

Simeone said: ``They are tough rivals and we will have to work hard defensively to endure their attacking qualities.''

Asked about his side's fading hopes of catching Barcelona, Simeone added: ``It is always important to win for ourselves but we can't choose what our rivals do because that doesn't depend on us.

``We just have to concentrate on this match and if it goes well we will get a result. We play in a very specific way and we won't change for this match.''



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