Real Madrid are favourites against difficult Man City - Zinedine Zidane
Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane says his side will be favourites in their upcoming Champions League semifinal with Manchester City, but his full focus for now is on Saturday afternoon's La Liga game at suburban neighbours Getafe.
Madrid go into the game boosted by Tuesday's comeback against Wolfsburg in the Champions League to reach the last four, with key players such as Cristiano Ronaldo looking in their best form of the season.
The Los Blancos coach told a news conference that having the return at the Bernabeu early next month was an advantage, but he does not want to be distracted from the upcoming La Liga game.
"It will be a very, very difficult game," Zidane said. "The good thing is we play the return at home, that is always positive. But for sure it will be a big battle.
"Madrid are always favourites, and always will be. But we know how difficult it is to play a Champions League semifinal against Manchester City, but we will do our best to go through. I know the draw is the news, but I am not going to answer 10 questions about it, as most important is tomorrow's game against Getafe."
There are also currently growing hopes among fans and pundits at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu that an improving Madrid can also take advantage of Barcelona's slump in form to win the La Liga title race.
Asked if he saw similarities between Barca's current form and his own experience as a Madrid player in 2004 -- when the team in which he played was well placed but ended the season winning nothing -- Zidane responded that he preferred to focus on his own players' preparation.
"I'm not going to talk about what is happening at Barcelona," he said. "I don't like for a team to have a bad time, I'm just concerned about my team doing well. We cannot let our guard down, we must remain focused in our objectives. The players know what we are playing for, we have gone from 13 points to four, so now is not the moment to drop our guard.
"After the [Getafe] game we can be within one point. Then you look at what the others do. But we must think about our own game, play it well, knowing it will be very difficult."
Getafe are currently 19th in the Primera Division table after picking up just two points and scoring four goals in their last 12 games -- an awful run which lead to coach Fran Escriba being sacked this week and replaced by ex-Real Madrid player Juan Esnaider.
Madrid have won five and lost one of their last six trips to the Coliseum Alfonso Perez, but Zidane said he did not accept it will be an easy game.
"Tomorrow's game I do not like too much, as it seems as if we are going to win the game easily and it is not like that," he said. "It will not be easy at all, going to their stadium. We are playing a team fighting for their lives, who have just changed their coach too. I want to think only about tomorrow's game, prepare well for it, do our work well, so there is no surprise."
Some rotation is expected after Real's midweek exertions, with James Rodriguez, Danilo, Isco and Raphael Varane among the players who may come into the starting XI. Luka Modric is unlikely to feature after limping out of training on Friday with what seemed a minor problem.
"Rotations, yes, there will be some changes tomorrow," Zidane said. "And you will know tomorrow what team I will pick. But there will be rotation. I just think about picking the best team to play the best game."
Ronaldo would play for sure though, said Zidane, who talked about how the team in general is hitting top form at the decisive moment of the season.
"Cristiano can have moments when he does not score a goal, but nobody should be worried about him," the coach said. "He is very happy at the moment, not just with me, but with all the staff, everyone who works for him and for the team every day. You see that in his face.
"Physically we are at our best moment at the end of the season, when everything is being played for. I am very happy with all we are doing."
Asked about the French FA's decision to omit Karim Benzema from the summer's European Championships due to his ongoing sex tape blackmail trial involving international teammate Mathieu Valbuena, the former Les Bleus star said he would not comment directly on the decision, but admitted that Benzema himself was very upset at not being able to play in the tournament.
"I have spoken with Karim about this and they took the decision. I will not get into these things. The player is hurt, very sad, very disappointed, as he wanted to play in the tournament in France. He is a player who can bring a lot to the France team.
"With Karim now I must give him full confidence, so he keeps playing as well as he has been playing. I will not say if the decision was fair or not."