The Spanish full-back has praised the Frenchman for returning to Santiago Bernabeu at such a difficult time for the club and it’s players

Real Madrid defender Dani Carvajal says that Zinedine Zidane was “brave” to resume managerial duties at the club towards the end of a turbulent 2018-19 campaign. 

The Blancos are destined to finish the season without a trophy, after struggling to maintain their high standards throughout the year under the stewardship of both Julen Lopetegui and Santiago Solari.

The former was drafted in to replace Zidane last summer – who left the club after masterminding a third successive European Cup win – but the Spaniard only lasted in the hot seat until November.

Solari fared little better overall despite a promising start and by the time his short reign ended, Madrid were out of the Champions League and Copa del Rey, while also facing a huge points deficit in La Liga.

Zidane decided to return to the Bernabeu at the start of March and he has since managed to oversee three wins from four to restore a sense of confidence within the squad.

Carvajal, however, admits that Madrid are not the same force they were during the Frenchman’s first spell in charge, as he told Marca of his re-appointment: “It was the right one, at the time it was the best thing that could happen to us.

“We know we don’t play the same, he knows our confidence is low and he’s brave to take the job now.

“He knows us all very well, he knows the club and I think he’s the most suitable.”

Barcelona look set to retain the Spanish title this season and they also have a Copa del Rey final against Valencia to look forward to in May, while negotiating the latter stages of the Champions League.

Madrid have been unable to keep pace with their arch-rivals this term and securing a runners-up league finish ahead of Atletico Madrid is now the club’s main aim over the next seven games.

Carvajal went on to state that although the squad has faced plenty of difficult challenges over the last 12 months, the players are united and focused on improving for the 2019-20 campaign.

“Being without anything to challenge for since March is something I haven’t experienced, but we have a good group,” he added. 

“When you don’t win the smiles aren’t the same. We’re united, we’re aware that we must work to move forward.

“We look forward to finishing the season, winning the matches that are left and coming back strong next season.”

Next up for Zidane’s men is a trip to Leganes on Monday night and three points could see Madrid move back to within two points of Atletico in the La Liga standings.