Santiago Solari: Real Madrid can maintain triple threat

Real Madrid coach Santiago Solari believes his side have the required collective belief to continue their battle on three fronts.

Los Blancos tackle Alaves on Sunday having secured a place in the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey, winning 3-1 at Girona on Thursday night – and were later drawn against Barcelona.

Following the first leg of another Clasico showdown at the Nou Camp, Solari’s men will travel to city rivals Atletico before resuming their Champions League defence against Dutch club Ajax.

After four straight wins, and six out of the last seven matches, Solari feels confidence is growing.

“We are in a very good moment, the players are training very well, they are involved in the competition (for places) and with enthusiasm for the next game,” the Real Madrid coach said.

“It is their merit at an individual and collective level as well. They are a united group, a family. I see them as being great.

“We are eager to go as far as possible in the three competitions and that is what I see in the players in every training (session) and in every game.”

Solari, though, intends to keep everyone focused on the job in hand rather than allow focus to slip towards facing their great rivals once again.

“It is a very important match that we will have to face Alaves with the maximum concentration,” he said at a press conference.

“I expect an opposition who will make things difficult for us.

“You have to take one step and then the next, the professional is always ready to put your attention where it is useful.

“Where we have to put our energy and attention tomorrow is the match against Alaves. We will demand a lot and we have to give the performance we gave against Espanyol last week.”

While Karim Benzema again grabbed the headlines with a double strike in the win at Girona, Solari hopes to soon see the best of Gareth Bale once again.

The Wales forward came off the bench for the last half-hour against Espanyol following his recovery from yet another frustrating injury setback.

“He is always switched on. He’s in good condition and we want him to perform how we know he can, as he showed in the Club World Cup and against Roma,” Solari said.

Defenders Dani Carvajal and Raphael Varane are both suspended.

Marco Asensio, though, should be in contention having trained with the rest of the squad at Valdebebas, while Jesus Vallejo continues his rehabilitation following a hamstring problem.

Alaves have seen preparations disrupted by a busy end to the transfer window.

Striker Ruben Sobrino completed a deadline-day switch to Valencia, while Alex Blanco moved the other way on loan and Uruguayan forward Diego Rolan was another late arrival.

Following successive defeats without scoring a goal, Alaves boss Abelardo Fernandez is hoping for a change in fortunes.

“All teams have negative streaks and hopefully it won’t last long,” he said.

“We will try to fight for the objective, we know that it is not going to be easy.”

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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