Solari and Real Madrid still committed to La Liga title race

Los Blancos have a Copa del Rey semifinal against Barcelona next week, but Real Madrid coach Santiago Solari is still focusing on La Liga.

Published : Feb 23, 2019 22:31 IST

Real Madrid head coach Santiago Solari.
Real Madrid head coach Santiago Solari.

Real Madrid head coach Santiago Solari.

Santiago Solari says Real Madrid will fight to win La Liga until the end of the season despite slipping nine points behind Barcelona.

Ahead of back-to-back El Clasico clashes against rival Barca, Madrid is in league action away to Levante on Sunday. Barca's seven-point lead over Atletico Madrid has Ernesto Valverde's men on track to defend the title it secured last season.

But even though Madrid's shock home loss to struggling Girona last weekend ended a five-game winning run and left it well off the pace, Solari will not concede.

READ | Real Madrid 1 Girona 2: Stuani and Portu seal stunning comeback

"Every game is played with maximum commitment," Solari told a news conference. "Our commitment is to fight for the league until the end.

"We want to cut points and that is our objective, we have not last weekend and we have to cut again. We must have the necessary tension to face a match like Levante. Levante are a very fast team, we have to go there from minute one to play our game. Press, press up and be aggressive with the opposite goal.

"The players are the ones who enter and define a match, we would like to be closer to the goal, to win, but we have to fight."

Isco back

Isco last started a La Liga game in October but Solari says the Spain playmaker has recovered from back and neck pain, although Marcos Llorente is still out.

"Isco has trained normally and Llorente is still not training, we are waiting for him [to return] as soon as possible," Solari added. "[Marcelo] is training phenomenally, like the whole team, I see everyone focused because we have an important week ahead of us."

A pair of Clasicos at the Santiago Bernabeu within four days is an unusual event, and Solari questioned Madrid's upcoming calendar with Barcelona set to enjoy an extra day off ahead of Wednesday's Copa del Rey tie.

"The schedule is curious," he added. "It is really funny. We didn't set up to play in different conditions, so we face it as a big challenge."

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