Under-pressure Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane says he is “going to fight right until my last day”.
On his position, Zidane said: “I know where I am and that’s always the case.”
He added: “That’s what the role of a coach is like for all of us. I’m going to fight right until my last day because I enjoy what I do and feel as if I’m up to it.”
Real are one point ahead of promoted side Granada, who have already stunned champions Barcelona 2-0 this season.
- Courtois ‘subbed off because of illness not anxiety attack’
- Real Madrid battle back to draw with Club Bruges
Real remain unbeaten in the Spanish top flight, having won four and drawn three of their opening fixtures and – after two barren years domestically – Zidane said in April the league would be Madrid’s priority this season.
But apart from their win at Sevilla in September, Real have looked well below their fluent best, and suffered a humbling 3-0 defeat by Paris St-Germain in Europe.
On the criticism his team has received, Zidane added: “We’re not such a bad state as people outside of here say we are.
“This is Real Madrid and we’re focused on what we can do out on the pitch because we’ve now got a game where we can show why we’re top.
“We want to make sure we remain top at the final whistle. Tomorrow [Saturday] it’s first versus second and that means a lot. We know that we’re up against a side that are having a good season, just as we are.”
Real’s match against Granada begins at 15:00 BST on Saturday. Meanwhile, on Sunday, third-placed Atletico travel to Real Valladolid (15:00 BST) and champions Barcelona – in fourth – host Sevilla (20:00 BST).
‘Nobody is a guaranteed starter’
Former Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois was withdrawn at half-time with Real trailing 2-0 against Bruges in midweek, and the club later said the Belgian had been suffering from gastroenteritis – rather than an anxiety attack as claimed in the Spanish media.
Courtois – who has kept clean sheets in his last two league appearances either side of being benched against Osasuna – was jeered by members of the home support, alongside Spaniard Lucas Vazquez, with the Bernabeu crowd not afraid to vocalise their discontent.
On Courtois, Zidane said: “Regardless of whether it’s fair or not, it is what it is. He’s strong and is aware of the situation. The first-half performance the other day was down to everyone.
“The important thing is how he’s feeling. He’s not the only one who was responsible for that first half against Bruges. At Real Madrid you’re not allowed to make any mistakes, we can never concede and always have to score. Whenever that doesn’t happen, bad things are always going to be said about Real Madrid. We always have to give our all.
“Nobody is a guaranteed starter, not Courtois or anybody else. I never said that. I’m going to use all of them.”
Speaking about Vazquez, the Real boss added: “If I was to say that the jeers don’t affect you I’d be lying. They affect you, but you’ve got to accept them. Lucas has also done some really good things and has received applause.
“When things aren’t going so well for you, you’ve got to react and that’s what we want to see for the good of the team.”