New Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane’s attacking football may be welcomed by the players but he will need to deliver results he was unable to achieve when in charge of the club’s reserve team.
James Rodriguez and Isco are set to be two of the main beneficiaries from the arrival of Zidane who has shown versatility in his limited coaching career but prefers a 4-2-3-1 formation similar to that employed by Jose Mourinho at Real.
Both had their options limited under former coach Rafa Benitez who opted for a more solid approach and often employed the defensive Carlos Casemiro in a three-man midfield where Toni Kroos was also told to sit deep.
“James and Isco are both important players so I am trying to give them a lot of support and confidence like all the team,” Zidane told a news conference on Friday ahead of the La Liga game against Deportivo La Coruna.
“The players are happy and concentrated on working hard. They want to change certain things and we have been working on this in training.”
In the Real B team, Marcos Llorente was the only player who held his position in front of the defence with the side often converting to a 4-1-4-1 formation with Borja Mayoral or Mariano Diaz as the out and out striker.
Zidane is a coach who prefers to use the ball during training and a more simplistic tactical approach than Benitez which is the preference of the ball players and the way he used to like playing the game.
One of the main concerns for the club, though, will be his lack of success with the Real B team and the inability to get the best out of their top players.
After being an assistant to Carlo Ancelotti, Zidane became coach of the reserves last season following their relegation to the third tier of Spanish football and his inability to win promotion has generally been regarded as a failure.
The B team started this season well and lie second in the table but have just one win since mid-November.
Zidane has struggled to get the best out of talented young players and they have suffered the same problem as the first team with a lack of connection between the midfield and attack.
In particular, he has had a strained relationship with Norwegian teenage prodigy Martin Odegaard who is adapting slowly to life at Real following his high-profile move.