Interim boss Santiago Solari has called for Real Madrid to stay hungry as they go in search of a fourth straight victory under his stewardship against Celta Vigo.
Former Real midfielder Solari holds a 100 per cent record since taking the helm following Julen Lopetegui’s exit last month, with the 5-0 Champions League win against Viktoria Plzen in midweek representing the capital club’s third straight victory.
And the Argentinian wants to see his side continue to produce the qualities they have shown under him so far when they visit Celta, who have scored seven goals in their last two league games.
Solari told a pre-match press conference: “We’ll have to reproduce the same organisation, sacrifice and hunger we’ve shown in our most recent games.
“It’ll be tough. We’ll be playing for what are three very important points in a tough away game in which we’re up against strong opponents.
“We’ll have to be disciplined and focused. That’s what we’ll be aiming to do.”
Real begin the weekend seven points behind leaders Barcelona following the five-game winless run in the league which led to Lopetegui’s departure.
“I see the players as being keen to come away from there with the three points as we look to cut the gap,” he added in quotes published on the club’s website.
“Top athletes never underestimate their opponents. You’ve got to go out and play every game and do a lot of good things to win.
“We’re going to have to do that and more besides to pick up the next available three points.
“This is a sport that involves all of us. Players, coaches and staff at all levels of the club want to do everything in their control to ensure that things run smoothly.”
Celta’s Turkish midfielder Okay Yokuslu expects Sunday’s game to be an entertaining spectacle.
He told the club’s official website: “It will be a tough game, of course.
“They have a good team, they have good players – like us. I think it will be a good game for the supporters. We have a game plan and we’re going to stick to it.”
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Colombian ace Rodriguez is currently exiled in the Bundesliga with Bayern Munich after he tumbled down the pecking order under Zinedine Zidane.
But Spanish website Ok Diario suggest Real are ready to recall Rodriguez in January – and they want him in the first team with Hazard.
The Chelsea maestro remains a long-term target for the club despite their failure to snare him in the summer.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Isco, Gareth Bale and Marco Asensio were all regularly selected ahead of Colombia star Rodriguez who was subsequently offloaded in 2017 to Munich on a two-year loan deal.
Rodriguez rediscovered his form in Germany, helping Bayern continue their dominance of the German top tier last term.
This season, however, he’s struggled under new coach Niko Kovac.
Rodriguez has three goals from eight league matches but has a strained relationship with Kovac, whose tougher, old-fashioned methods have caused friction within the camp.
Last season, the Colombia star was often indulged by Jupp Heynckes after taking over from Carlo Ancelotti.
Real are currently manageress but Santiago Solari is the favourite to seal the top job permanently.
And the managerial limbo hasn’t derailed the focus of Real bigwigs, with Ok Diario claiming Florentino Perez remains determined to sign Belgian star Hazard.
Midfielder Dani Ceballos has voiced his support for the new coach and believes that the club are heading in the right direction.
“I didn’t expect Lopetegui to leave me out of the squad against Plzen,” the midfielder told Cadena SER.
“I talked to him, but it was his decision. Lopetegui had a lot of faith in me and he gave me minutes after not playing much, but I think the change of Coach has been good for us because we’ve put three wins together and I think that’s very important.
The ex-Real Betis man has made peace with the fact that he isn’t an undisputed starter and believes that every player in the squad will have a role in the long season.
he said: “Solari’s been very clear with me since our first encounter. We have a big squad and we all have to give something.
The 22-year-old is of the opinion that Real Madrid’s 5-1 defeat to eternal rivals Barcelona was the turning point and the new manager has set things in order and provided a platform the team can build on.
He said: “After the game against Barca, we hit rock bottom and I think the change has been good for us. Mentally, we were in a very bad way, but Solari has managed to turn things around.
“We’re very happy with Solari. He’s brought in some very good dynamics, but we don’t make these decisions. They’re made above us.”