Zidane takes blame as Real suffers humiliation
Real Madrid crashed to a humiliating Copa del Rey exit on Jan. 24 when it was knocked out by little Leganes in the quarterfinals with under-fire coach Zinedine Zidane taking the blame.
European champion Real lost 2-1 in the second leg at its Bernabeu home as the tie finished 2-2 on aggregate with its modest city neighbor going through on away goals despite having lost the first leg 1-0 last week.
“I am responsible for all of this. It’s a failure for me,” said Zidane who recently penned a contract extension until 2020.
Admitting that it had been his worst night as a coach, the Frenchman added: “It’s a logical result, our opponents played their match and we did not. It is a big blow. We did what we had to do in the first leg. Nobody expected this, especially me but this is football.
“I am the manager. I picked the team and I was wrong in many regards. It’s up to me to find the solutions. I will continue to fight, to work, to battle and to find the things the team needs.”
Javi Eraso gave Leganes a 32nd-minute lead with a spectacular curling shot from long range. Karim Benzema leveled on the night after 47 minutes thanks to a pass from Lucas Vazquez but Brazilian striker Gabriel Pires then hit the winner with a firm header eight minutes later.
It was a depressing evening for Zinedine Zidane’s side which, despite being in the Champions League last 16 where it faces Paris Saint-
Germain in three weeks’ time, is 19 points behind Barcelona in the Spanish title race.
The fans let their feelings known by booing off the team at half-time.
Leganes have a budget of just 45 million euros - 15 times less than the 675 million euros commanded by mighty Real.