Last Updated: 09/01/18 7:20am
Real Madrid must revert back to the midfield combination that brought them success last season, according to Spanish football expert Terry Gibson.
Zinedine Zidane’s side fell further behind runaway La Liga leaders Barcelona after Maxi Gomez scored late on to claim a 2-2 draw for Celta Vigo on Sunday night.
Real are now 16 points adrift of Barca and in fourth place with the gap to Valencia in third now at five points.
La Liga Weekly Podcast
Jon Driscoll is joined by Terry Gibson to look at all the latest news from Spain, including where Philippe Coutinho fits into the Barcelona team and Real Madrid’s struggles.
Madrid face Numancia in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday night, which may represent the club’s best chance of adding more silverware this term following a tough draw against Paris Saint-Germain in the first knockout round of the Champions League.
Gibson feels the defending La Liga champions have moved away from their most effective way of playing, describing Zidane’s selection in the 3-0 defeat by Barcelona last month as ‘ridiculous’.
“They’ve forgotten a system which served them well,’ he said on the La Liga Weekly podcast. “It really needs Zidane to be authoritative. I’ve watched a number of their games this season where there’s been indiscipline in the midfield.
“In the Clasico, it was [Mateo] Kovacic and Casemiro in central midfield. It was ridiculous. [Toni] Kroos and [Luka] Modric, with Casemiro behind, they are what make Real Madrid tick. But they were both playing wide in that game, and they were playing wide again against Celta Vigo.
“Kroos and Modric were playing right and left wing, so there was no relationship between those two. That relationship had led to them winning the league title and back-to-back Champions Leagues.
“The relationship is not being allowed because they’re playing so far apart from each other. It does need some structure and discipline otherwise this run is going to continue.”
La Liga Football
January 13, 2018, 5:30pm
Zidane has suggested he will avoid delving into the transfer market this month to bring in new recruits, despite the team’s ongoing struggles.
Real dropped points for the eighth time this season against Celta, but the Frenchman is happy with his current squad and has taken responsibility for the failure to mount a league title challenge.
Gibson believes Zidane needs to rediscover the enterprising football on show at the start of the campaign, when the club opened up their La Liga title defence in style with a 3-0 win at Deportivo.
He added: “In El Clasico, he chucked everything up in the air to see where it landed with Kovacic coming in for Isco. It’s a real shame because at the start of the season, in the game at Deportivo they were sensational.
“They scored a goal which had 44 passes, Casemiro’s tap-in, which was built around the trio of Isco, Kroos and Modric. There was a style of play which was really pleasing to the eye, and I thought that was the next development of Real Madrid as a team.
“Against Girona [the 2-1 loss in October] it was quite baffling to witness the positioning of Casemiro, playing up front between the two strikers with Kroos chasing back as the last line of defence. There’s no structure at the moment with Real Madrid.”