Thierry Henry has called talk of Real Madrid sacking manager Zinedine Zidane due to the team’s current form this season “comical.”
Real were well beaten by Barcelona in the latest edition of the Clasico on Saturday, with the 3-0 victory for Ernesto Valverde’s team sinking Los Blancos to fourth in the La Liga table, 14 points behind their arch-rivals in Spain.
And victories in the Spanish Super Cup over Barcelona to start the season and a less-than-convincing win against Gremio in the Club World Cup have done little to quell the unrest among the Bernabeu faithful, leading some to speculate the Madrid manager’s job could be in jeopardy.
However, speaking on Sky Sports, former Arsenal and Barcelona player Henry laughed off such talk as ridiculous given Zidane’s accomplishments with the club since taking over from Rafa Benitez two years ago.
“To even talk about Zizou getting the sack is comical to me with what he has done.
“Can he not have a little pause on the run that he had with his team? It goes with the job, because when you don’t perform they ask questions, but come on, he has done a tremendous job.”
Zidane has won two Champions League trophies and one La Liga title in his time as manager, but came under fire for tactical decisions against Barca, in particular picking Mateo Kovacic over Isco in midfield and leaving Gareth Bale on the bench to start the match.
But Henry defended his countryman’s tactics, pushing some of the blame back on the team for underperforming.
“I like to bring it back to when he arrived,” Henry said. “He did something that Rafa Benitez had tried to do, to play Casemiro, and the fans allowed him to do it.
“At the beginning, they were not playing the way Real Madrid fans wanted to see them play, but they were winning games. So people were saying Zizou is a great tactician because he recognised that the midfield needed an enforcer more than four Galacticos.
“He went on to win back-to-back Champions Leagues and everything else, and up until 45 minutes of this game, it was not bad what he was doing.
“Today, for me, shouldn’t kill what Zizou put in place. People will tell me that he has the players, he has this and he has that, but still, Zizou did it by putting in Casemiro.
“The coach can give you a tactic and a plan, but your team need to execute it with what’s happening on the field.”