Real play down Barca visit
Manuel Pellegrini does not believe next Saturday's visit of Barcelona will decide the Primera Liga title.
By Jamie Casey
Last Updated: 05/04/10 1:55pm
Real Madrid boss Manuel Pellegrini does not believe next weekend's meeting with Barcelona will decide the Primera Liga title.
The two giants of Spanish football lock horns at the Bernabeu on Saturday level on 77 points, with Madrid currently topping the table on goal difference.
The Spanish top-flight final standings are based on head-to-head records, should they finish level, therefore Pellegrini will hope to at least match the 1-0 scoreline Barcelona defeated them by in November last year.
However, the Chilean has played down the importance of the meeting, dubbed 'El Clasico', and insists they must approach each of their eight remaining games in the same manner.
"We need to do what we do on a daily basis in order to win next Saturday," said the former Villarreal boss.
"We cannot lose our identity. We will seek the victory and whoever makes the fewest mistakes will win.
"Both of us won our matches this weekend. We are up against a great opponent, but I am sure we will win if we focus and stick to our football.
"The Clasico is just another match that has to be played and it is followed by more matches.
"We cannot make any mistakes from here on out because we won't be facing any easy teams."
Real secured their 12th win on the trot on Sunday with a 2-0 away win at Racing Santander, reclaiming top spot from Barcelona, who had defeated Athletic Bilbao the previous day.
Real defender Christoph Metzelder was delighted to keep a clean sheet but echoed his manager's claims that the title will not be decided in their next game.
"We had to win no matter what," Metzelder told the club's official website. "The fact that we didn't concede any goals and that we are leaders again is good news.
"Both Barcelona and Real Madrid are winning all their matches, so I am sure next week's game will be crucial.
"However, there are still other difficult matches to be played, meaning that Saturday's will not decide who wins La Liga."
The two sides have opened up a 21-point gap over third-placed Valencia in an extraordinarily consistent season for both clubs.
Keeper Iker Casillas hailed his team-mates for a resilient display at Racing while reiterating Madrid's attitude towards the upcoming visit of the reigning champions.
"Our defence was outstanding and we managed to keep a clean sheet. We did a good job," Casillas said.
"Saturday's Clasico is just another match on the calendar. It will be fun. I am shocked about how many points we both have. It's quite unusual."