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“We’re excited to be fighting for Europe at this stage of the season”
“We’re excited to be fighting for Europe at this stage of the season”

Marcelino has emphasised the difficulty of beating Real Madrid and has underlined his team’s growth in the second half of the season

Villarreal CF head coach, Marcelino García Toral, appeared before the media to analyse the match against Real Madrid, corresponding to Matchday 37 of the 2023/24 LALIGA EA Sports season and the last home game of the season for the Yellows at the Estadio de la Cerámica (Sunday, 7pm CEST).

“We have to win our games and see what the others do. It’s complicated because we’re playing against Real Madrid who have only lost one game this year. It’s difficult, but we’re going to try. Who would have thought that at this stage we’d still be thinking about Europe,” he said.

The Submarine’s head coach proudly emphasised the fact that we are fighting for Europe at this stage: “It’s almost a fairytale considering the circumstances we were in at the beginning of January. The level of the players has brought us this far. We only have two more attempts left. The first one conditions the second one and it can’t be more attractive because we’re playing against Real Madrid. They are not the ideal opponent. They are the champions, but we have to try. We’re doing well and we’ve just won at a ground that only Madrid have won at. Now we want to look for another record, which is to be the second team to beat Real Madrid.”

To achieve this, Marcelino points to being accurate in the penalty areas: “When you play against a big team, how you defend your own area and how you attack the opposition’s is key. You have to be accurate at both ends. We have to defend very well like we did in Girona and attack like we have been doing lately. We need to find ourselves with Madrid not having their best day and that partly depends on us. We must try to minimise them. In a game anything can happen.”

The head coach appealed to the fans ahead of one of the most important games of the season: “We are excited to still be fighting for Europe and the fans will be too. It was difficult to think about when we got here. We will face it with joy and ambition. And with the help of our fans. We hope the ground will be full and that they will give us the support we need to go into the final matchday with a chance of fighting for Europe.”

Finally, Marcelino lamented the absences of Kiko and Baena and left the door open for other players to return to the squad: “Kiko has had an extraordinary second half of the season and it’s a shame not to be able to count on him. Baena is also a very important player. To replace him, we have to try not to change too much. If we change too much when things are going well, it’s possible that we’ll sow doubts rather than impact certainties. We are going to place a player with different conditions. Alberto, Gerard, Coquelin and Raúl are progressing well.”