Real Madrid coach Santiago Solari talked to the press ahead of Sunday’s away match against Espanyol in La Liga. Los Blancos earned an encouraging comeback win against Girona in the first leg of the Copa del Rey Quarterfinals and Solari wants his team to produce the same kind of performance on their visit to Espanyol.
”Right from the get go we’ll need to perform just as we have done in our last two games: with the best focus to keep completing good performances. We need the players to maintain the intensity and energy levels that they’ve shown in our last two games,” said the coach.
Gareth Bale has recovered from his calf injury and it appears that he will be available, even though Solari did not want to reveal whether the Welshman will start or not.
“We’ll have to see who plays tomorrow and who plays in our next games. The players that are recovering are working their way back to fitness and we want them to be at 100%. He’s a fantastic footballer and we’re delighted to have him back,” explained the coach.
Solari was also asked about Vinicius Junior, one of the brightest spots for Real Madrid this season.
“His adaptation has been incredibly quick. He’s 18 years old and he’s adapted to a new country, another culture, a new language and new friends. With the support of the more experienced players, he’s able to go out and showcase his talent in every game. We have to continue to look after him and make sure that his progress doesn’t stop,” said the coach.
The Argentinian coach also praised Karim Benzema, who is completing one of the best seasons ever since he signed for Real Madrid back in 2009.
“Benzema has been around a long time and has had a lot of highs throughout his career. He’s in great form and is having a brilliant season. The way he understands the game and the effort he puts in make him a very generous player. He improves those around him. He’s played most of the games this season and he’s also showing himself to be selfless now that he’s playing with a broken finger. I believe that he’s one of the best strikers out there right now,” concluded the coach.