Madrid’s Sergio Ramos calls on teammates to put their Champions League semi-final first leg loss behind them and focus on their league clash against Valencia tonight
Madrid: Sergio Ramos has called on Real Madrid to put their defeat to Juventus behind them and beat Valencia to keep the pressure on Primera Division leaders Barcelona.
Madrid will have to come from behind to make the Champions League final after they lost 1-2 in the first leg of their semi-final on Tuesday.
Ramos and Gareth Bale bore the brunt of the criticism for their performances but in truth the whole team under-performed and had it not been for a late miss from Fernando Llorente, Madrid would be facing a much tougher task in next week’s second leg.
Ramos insists there is no point in dwelling on the defeat though. He and his teammates have a difficult fixture today that could prove crucial in the outcome of the title race.
“We have to disconnect and forget about the Juventus game,” the defender told his club’s website.
“After a bad result you have to be calm and more united than ever. Errors are part of the game. We have to look at ourselves and improve the things we did wrong. We have to think about getting the three points and keep the pressure on (Barcelona).”
Javier Hernandez echoed his teammate’s words.
“We have to swallow the defeat and think about Valencia because we’re still fighting for the league,” said the Mexican, who is on a season-long loan from Manchester United. Barcelona will be five points ahead by the time Real Madrid kick off if they beat Real Sociedad on Saturday.
Another victory for Barca would leave Real Madrid hoping for a favour from neighbours Atletico Madrid, who take on the league leaders a week later on Sunday. The last two rounds of fixtures will only go ahead, of course, if a proposed strike is called off.
Valencia have not given up hope of catching Atletico in the league, though, and are four points behind Diego Simeone’s men with three matches left.
Third place guarantees direct entry into the Champions League. Valencia goalkeeper Diego Alves is available after recovering from an injury he suffered in last week’s win against Eibar.
Real are without Sami Khedira and Luka Modric, but Karim Benzema is back in training after missing the Juve game with a knee injury.
>> Barcelona vs Real Sociedad: Star Sports 4, 21:25
>> Real Madrid vs Valencia: Star Sports 4, 23:25
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