Real Madrid ready for key part of season: Solari

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Madrid, Feb 2 (IANS) Real Madrid’s head coach Santiago Solari on Saturday spoke about the upcoming matches and said the squad was ready to handle them effectively.

In February, Real Madrid is scheduled to take on nemesis Barcelona twice; in the Copa del Rey semifinal; on February 6 and February 27. Between both legs, Madrid will play Atletico Madrid in La Liga and then Ajax in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League round-of-16.

“We have got used to it. The team is familiar with this stage of the year. First, we have to reach this part of the season to be able to compete in the three tournaments,” Solari said at a press conference on the eve of a La Liga clash against Alaves, reports Efe news.

Halfway through the first half of the season, Real Madrid stayed as low as the ninth spot in La Liga table after their 5-1 defeat to Barcelona that cost coach Julen Lopetegui his post.

But under Solari, Real Madrid has worked its way back into the top 5 and is now third with 39 points. But it trails leader Barcelona by 10 points after 21 matches into the season.

“We have already won the FIFA Club World Cup. To the ongoing three competitions, we arrive in a good shape, with energy. Also, all the squad is available except Vallejo, who is about to return,” Solari said, adding his team will take on the opponents with cool heads.

Vallejo sustained a hamstring injury while training on January 14 and has been on the sidelines since then.

When asked about his plans for the key part of the season, Solari said: “We look at the long and medium run. The short as well, the immediate and the past to learn from the mistakes and strengthen virtues. But step by step, and we have to channel our energy where it is handy.”

“Tomorrow we have an important match against a team that will not make things easy for us and we have to approach the game with the same focus of last week’s match against Espanyol or the previous against Sevilla,” he said.



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