TOKYO (Reuters) - Real Madrid are battling the effects of jet-lag but are fully focussed on their Club World Cup semi-final against Mexican team Club America, coach Zinedine Zidane said on Monday.
CONCACAF Champions League holders America stand in the way of Real reaching Sunday’s final against Atletico Nacional or Kashima Antlers after they beat South Korean side Jeonbuk Motors.
“The most important game is our next game, the only thing in my head at the moment is Thursday’s game. We will give everything to win,” Zidane told reporters.
“I watched three games, against the Koreans, a cup game and a derby match. I didn’t know anything about them before and now we have to really look at them and how they play.”
Real, bidding to win the Club World Cup for the second time in three years, beat Deportivo La Coruna 3-2 on Saturday thanks to a stoppage-time winner by captain Sergio Ramos, setting a club record 35 games unbeaten and keeping them six points clear at the top of La Liga.
“The secret to our success is simply hard work. When you add hard work to talent you get a very interesting mix,” Zidane said.
Real won the 2014 tournament in Morocco but have to deal with another obstacle this time before Thursday’s game against the Mexican side - coping with jet-lag following a 13-hour flight to Japan from the Spanish capital.
“We have experts who have given us special procedures to follow and we have done that, but I, for example, feel dead,” said Zidane.
“I couldn’t sleep but we are delighted to be at the tournament and we’ll be well prepared,” added defender Marcelo.
Injured winger Gareth Bale was the only absentee for Real as while talisman Cristiano Ronaldo is expected to be announced as world player of the year on Monday after leading Real to the Champions League and captaining Portugal to the Euro 2016 title.
“I don’t think he’ll be able to sleep. He deserves it and I‘m certain he’ll win it but it will prevent him from resting,” Marcelo said.
Reporting by Richard Martin, editing by Ed Osmond