Head coach Santiago Solari believes Real Madrid will need all the weapons at their disposal to win Saturday’s Madrid derby against Atletico.
Solari’s side have won their last four games in LaLiga and know another victory at the Wanda Metropolitano will take them above their city rivals and into second in the table. ‘The opposition plays intense, tactical and energetic football,’ Solari told a pre-match press conference. We’ll have to show all of our intensity, energy and good football in response and take charge from the first moment of the game.
‘We have to go out to compete with all of our weapons from minute one. We work hard every day to fine-tune the balance between tactics, physical and mental elements, and to apply it in every game. The players work in a very disciplined manner to achieve it. The team is in great shape, everyone is working very hard and showing commitment in every session to ensure this group takes the game to the opposition every week, just as we’re showing. All the players are thinking about the team and they’re all very committed. You can see that in training and in games. We’re on a very good run at this stage of the season.’
The derby is part of a busy schedule for Real which includes Champions League fixtures against Ajax and two games with Barcelona in the space of four days. However, Solari is relishing the prospect, adding: ‘It’s great to be at this stage with such good feeling around the place, the fixtures are increasingly exciting and we face numerous challenges.
‘The most present one is a huge game which will be very hard fought. We have to go into the game just as focused as we’ve been in recent matches, ready to give it everything we’ve got to put in a performance like we gave against Barcelona, Girona, Sevilla, with the same hunger, energy and good football.’ Midfielder Marcos Llorente is ruled out with a muscle injury while playmaker Isco will be assessed before kick-off after leaving training on Friday with some discomfort in his back.
Atletico’s 19-match unbeaten run in all competitions came to an end with last week’s 1-0 defeat at Real Betis, but head coach Diego Simeone has been boosted by captain Diego Godin making a quicker-than-expected recovery from a thigh injury. ‘Tomorrow we will face a team that has improved since Solari arrived,’ Simeone told a pre-match press conference. ‘But we are excited because we are working well. We weren’t able to take the game against Betis in the direction we wanted it to go but we hope to do so tomorrow at our stadium and with our fans, keeping in mind who we will be facing.’
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