Zinedine Zidane Talks Eden Hazard, Thibaut Courtois After Real Madrid UCL Win

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistOctober 23, 2019

ISTANBUL, TURKEY - OCTOBER 22: Zinedine Zidane Head Coach of Real Madrid (L) reacts during the UEFA Champions League group A match between Galatasaray and Real Madrid at Turk Telekom Arena on October 22, 2019 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by Ricardo Nogueira/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images)
Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images

Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has said he has no concerns over Eden Hazard after he missed a glorious chance in the team's UEFA Champions League clash with Galatasaray on Tuesday and praised the performance of Thibaut Courtois in the 1-0 win.

With just one point accrued from their first two Champions League matches of the campaign, Madrid were in desperate need of a victory. While aspects of their performance left much to be desired, the visitors were able to dig out a victory thanks to Toni Kroos' goal.

Hazard set up the opener with an unselfish piece of play but was unable to get on the scoresheet himself despite a clear chance. Despite that, Zidane said he has no worries about the club's summer signing, per Ryan Benson of Goal.

"It doesn't worry me," the manager said of the Belgium international. "He's better and he's going to improve more. The important thing is that he continues to have chances, because he's going to put them in."

Hazard was heavily involved in the only goal of the night, as he scampered into the penalty area from the left flank and squared for Kroos to finish:

As relayed by Goal, the former Chelsea man should have grabbed his first Champions League goal for his new club after rounding Fernando Muslera in the second half:

The clean sheet for Madrid was a huge boost, although Galatasaray had a number of opportunities throughout the game. On many occasions, they were halted by key saves from Courtois.

Zidane conceded that the stopper kept the team in the contest with some brilliant moments in the first half.

"He has clearly saved us in the first half," said the Real Madrid boss. "We are happy for him and for the whole team—he needed that kind of match as well. He allowed us to get all three points."

Courtois hasn't enjoyed the best beginning to his Real Madrid career, and in the previous Champions League game against Club Brugge, he was substituted. Per Kiyan Sobhani of Managing Madrid, the former Chelsea man bailed his team out on Tuesday:

It was arguably his best performance for the club, and that will be a boost for Zidane as he seeks to inject confidence into his vital players. Spanish football writer Andy West also thought Hazard had his most effective game for Los Blancos despite his glaring miss:

Following the postponement of the weekend's Clasico showdown with Barcelona, Zidane now has time to work with his players on the training pitch and get some crucial members of the squad back from injury layoffs.

If Madrid are to challenge for domestic and European silverware, then you sense Hazard and Courtois will need to be consistent throughout the season. Both took a positive step forward in high-pressure and hostile circumstances on Tuesday.

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