Having never beaten their local rivals Atletico in their six clashes so far this season, Real Madrid defender urges team to be perfect in their first leg quarter-final encounter
Madrid: Pepe has warned his Real Madrid teammates they cannot afford a repeat of the mistakes they have made in previous games against Atletico Madrid in today's Champions League clash.
Real Madrid's Pepe. Pic/Getty Images
Carlo Ancelotti's side have been second best in recent derbies against their neighbours, losing both La Liga games, their Spanish Supercopa meeting and Copa del Rey Last 16 tie this term. Their most recent meeting was a 0-4 drubbing at the Vicente Calderon but the Portugal international is hoping for a different outcome at the same ground this time.
"It's a difficult match for us but also for them," he is quoted as saying by AS. "I think that we must not commit the same errors that we committed in previous matches against Atletico. "If we go out with the intensity and the humility that the team showed last year and in these matches right now, I think that we will surely produce a good performance."
Full strength Real
Unlike that most recent meeting at the Vicente Calderon when they were without five first-team regulars, Real are at full strength for the first time in five months. James Rodriguez and Toni Kroos return from suspension after missing Saturday's 3-0 win over Eibar.
Real Madrid's Karim Benzema (right) and Cristiano Ronaldo train at Valdebebas Sport City in Madrid yesterday. Pic/AFP
Meanwhile, Gareth Bale returned to training on Sunday and is expected to fit to start. Atletico have received a huge injury boost of their own with the news that Mario Mandzukic will be available after overcoming an ankle problem which kept him out of their last two games.
Raul Garcia is also expected to recover from an elbow problem meaning Diego Simeone will also have a fully-fit squad to choose from. However, Simeone has a number of key decisions to make, most notably in goal where the in-form Jan Oblak kept his place ahead of the fit-again Miguel Angel Moya for Saturday's 2-2 draw at Malaga and in central defence where Jose Maria Gimenez and Miranda will battle it out to partner Diego Godin.