Atletico v Real Madrid, Wed, 21:00
It would seem that despite recent stutters, the dominance of Real Madrid is reaching the minds of even the most unlikely of sources, with Atletico Madrid midfielder Diego admitting that Los Merengues are the best side in Spain as Ladbrokes offer odds on that Mourinho’s side will take all three points back to the Bernabeu.
However, speaking to Radio MARCA ahead of the Madrid derby this Wednesday, the Brazilian playmaker went on to say that Real “are not invincible”.
“We will be facing the best team in the league but we’ll go for the win and we’ll see what happens. Madrid are not invincible, but they are the leaders and you have to respect them. But we must not forget that we are at home and that must motivate us.”
However, home advantage or not, Atletico have not succeeded in beating their local bitter rivals since 1999, leaving doubt as to whether or not the hosts can stand up to the challenge of the league leaders.
Speaking on the losing run, Diego added: “It is clear that going this long without beating Madrid is not normal, but we’re not obsessed. We are very motivated and we hope to end the streak.”
Both sides concerned in Wednesday’s clash are still involved in European competition with Atletico and Real set to participate in the semi-finals of the Europa League and Champions League, respectively.
Jose Mourinho’s men are now just four points ahead of Barcelona after drawing in three of their last five league outings and although a derby defeat is never a matter to question, a loss at the Vicente Calderón this Wednesday would hold more significance than ever, considering the slight gap at the top of the table.
Los Rojiblancos can move into sixth spot should they record a shock win this week as they continue their search for a European qualification spot.
Diego Simeone’s side have won seven of their last ten matches across all competitions and are the fourth best side in La Liga when playing at home this season, making for an interesting encounter come Wednesday.
The Argentinian will however, have to make do without Eduardo Salvio, defender Miranda and midfielder Mario Suarez, who are all suspended for the visit of Los Blancos.
Mourinho is likely to give a start to Angel Di Maria, who has recovered from a thigh injury, while Kaka could be set for a place in the starting XI, after only appearing as a substitute last week.