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Solari: “The players have to put their heart and soul into every game”

The boss speaks before the match against Girona.

Real Betis Balompie v Real Madrid CF - La Liga Photo by Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images

Real Madrid coach Santiago Solari talked to the press ahead of the team’s match against Girona in the Copa del Rey Quarterfinals. The Argentinian manager praised the commitment of his players and expects a tough game this Thursday.

“Girona have a lot of strengths. They’re enjoying a really good season, are strong defensively, quick in attack, make good transitions and are a threat from set pieces. There are a lot of aspects that we’ll have to try and control, but we have to focus on ourselves. We’ll have to try and reproduce what we did against Sevilla and what how we have performed in some our previous games, like the matches against Celta, Viktoria Plzen and Roma and produce that solidity. We put in a strong all-round performance against Sevilla and now have to take that into this Copa del Rey tie,” said Solari.

Karim Benzema will be available even though he was expected to have surgery to repair a broken finger.

“The decision has been made based on what the doctors said, although the players also have their say in these things. Medicine isn’t like mathematics. A lot of it comes down to the players’ competitive spirit and willingness, in this case about Karim, to continue playing. He’s having a great season, but I believe that when he comes to such delicate issues, the doctors have a big say in things, they’re the ones who’ll have advised on the best course of action to take,” he explained.

Real Madrid have to take the Copa del Rey very seriously now that they’re 10 points behind Barcelona in La Liga table. Solari talked about how to motivate his players for the domestic competition.

“The only formula that works revolves around commitment, enthusiasm and excitement. It’s the only way to compete and show that same passion. The players are at the heart everything we’re trying to do and they have to put their heart and soul into every game,” said the coach.

Marcelo has been a reserve for the last few games and is having quite possibly the worst season of his career. Still, Solari said that he trusts the Brazilian defender.

“There can be no question about his love and commitment towards this club, his upbeat attitude in training and his impeccable conduct. I have to name the starting line-up and it’s tough, but I to name my side according to how I see each game,” concluded the coach.

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