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Madrid hope for injury-free internationals
Published : 15 Mar 2013 13:47:17
Real Madrid assistant manager Aitor Karanka on Friday said he hoped that the upcoming international break will not disrupt their rhythm heading into the final stage of the season.
The Spanish champions have won their last six games, including victories over Barcelona and Manchester United to take them into the Copa del Rey final and quarter-finals of the Champions League respectively.
Karanka said he hoped that none of his side's internationals will return injured when they head away with their respective national sides for World Cup qualification duty after this weekend's game with Mallorca.
"The team is in good form, we are playing very well and we are confident," he told a news conference. "The end of the season when everything is to play for is a good time and we are working so that everything continues like this.
"We hope that what has happened before with the internationals won't happen again but the clubs that let their players go away are used to this. We hope that when they return they are fit to play."
Despite their recent run, Madrid remain 13 points off Barcelona at the top of La Liga.
But Karanka insisted that even with an important Champions League quarter-final double-header against Galatasaray to come, they will not take their eye off the ball in the league and will send out their strongest side against Mallorca on Saturday.
"Mallorca have won their two previous games and they are closer to moving out of the bottom three.
"We will play the best team that we have but without taking risks. We would be committing an error if we think that after eliminating Barcelona and Manchester United we already have the match won.
"We will not leave La Liga to one side. Last season we did the same when we had to play Barcelona between the two legs of the semi-final and we will work as we do every year."
Angel di Maria returned to training on Friday after missing last weekend's 2-1 win at Celta Vigo but the winger is not expected to be involved against Mallorca.
Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas will also miss out as he continues his recovery from a hand injury but Fabio Coentrao, Raphael Varane and Sergio Ramos are expected to return after being rested against Celta.