Zidane Eager to Spoil Europa League Party For Dennis, Okereke’s Brugge

Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has warned his players not to approach their tonight’s UEFA Champions League Group A match against home side Club Brugge like a friendly just because they have already claimed a Round of 16 spot as the second-placed team.

Club Brugge who have Nigeria’s duo of Emmanuel Dennis and David Okereke in their roster, are ready to play a game of their lives to beat Zidane’s men and finish in the third place which is a consolatory Europa League spot.

Dennis put up a sterling performance and scored both goals when Brugge claimed a 2-2 away draw at the Santiago Barnabeu on October 1.

But Zidane wants his side to also play out of their skin against the Philippe Clement’s side and win at the Jan Breydel Stadion tonight and maintain a winning mentality.

Brugge can still qualify for an Europa League spot if they lose to Madrid tonight and Galatasaray also lose to unassailable group leaders Paris Saint-Germain at the Parc des Princes.

“The message is always the same and that’s that we want to put in a good performance. That’s all there is to it,” Zidane said ahead of tonight’s clash.

“I don’t like friendly games. It’s a Champions League game and our reputation is on the line. We always want to play good football and keep our good run going.”

Zidane added: “Not on account of the result, which is down to our good performances, but because we want to play well and do things properly. If we don’t approach it in that way, things will go badly.

“It’ll be a really tough game. Brugge are playing to qualify for the Europa League as the third-placed team, but for us it’s a Champions League game and not a friendly.

“That’s why we want to win it, but we know just what a quality side the opposition are. We’re ready. Some of them will play, now is their time.”

Emmanuel Dennis celebrates after scoring against Real Madrid at the Santiago Barnabeu

Not even Madrid’s El Clasico clash with Barcelona next week can distract Zidane from focusing on winning tonight’s dead rubber Champions League.

“I don’t know anything about El Clasico and the only thing that I and everyone else is interested in is tomorrow (Wednesday) night’s game,” he insisted.

“The only thing in our heads is tomorrow’s [Wednesday] game [vs Club Brugge]. Everything else will come in time and there’ll be time to talk about that.

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“There are some things that you can’t control. The only thing we can control is the football. There are a lot of opinions and I’m not going to get involved in that.

“After this game we have three more matches before the end of the year, but right now the most important game is tomorrow [Wednesday] night’s.”
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