Osasuna v Real Madrid Spanish Primera Division preview
Preview ahead of Saturday's Spanish Primera Division clash between Osasuna and Real Madrid.
Last Updated: 11/01/13 1:49pm
Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas has reiterated his commitment to the Spanish champions despite Jose Mourinho's decision to relegate him to the bench for the club's last two Primera Division outings.
Mourinho dropped Casillas for the 3-2 loss to Malaga before Christmas and again favoured Antonio Adan for last Sunday's 4-3 win over Real Sociedad.
Adan was sent off within minutes of the kick-off against Sociedad for bringing down Carlos Vela, ensuring Casillas got the bulk of the 90 minutes under his belt after all.
The club captain is set to start Saturday's game at Osasuna and insists he has no problem with Mourinho picking whatever team he sees fit.
"It comes from the person in charge of the team and it is all about what he thinks and believes," Casillas said.
"What I have to do is train more and be as driven as possible to make my return. My toughest battle is with myself and regaining the coach's confidence."
Madrid go into tomorrow's game 16 points behind leaders Barcelona but Casillas believes they can bridge the gap.
"We have to keep thinking about fighting for the league," he said.
"We will try to scrap and fight because we have a lot of excited support behind us."
Madrid will be without Cristiano Ronaldo after the forward picked up his fifth yellow card of the campaign against Sociedad last weekend, while defender Sergio Ramos will also be on the sidelines after he was handed a five-match ban for his sending-off and subsequent reaction in the midweek Copa del Rey win over Celta Vigo.
Ramos was given his marching orders in the 72nd minute after picking up a second yellow card before venting his feelings at the match officials as he left the pitch.
The Spanish Football Federation confirmed Ramos had been given a one-match ban for his dismissal and a further four due to his "insults, verbal offences and abusive attitudes" towards officials.
Madrid won the match 4-0 to progress through to the quarter-finals 5-2 on aggregate.
Pepe's continued absence through injury allied to Ramos' ban means Raphael Varane and Ricardo Carvalho are likely to deputise in the heart of defence.
There was better news for Mourinho at left-back as both Marcelo and Fabio Coentrao returned to training this week, meaning Alvaro Arbeloa could revert to his preferred role at right-back.
Osasuna striker Joseba Llorente has underlined the importance of picking up points at home, but is understandably wary of Madrid's threat this weekend.
Osasuna have taken just nine points from nine home games this season and face a relegation six-pointer against Deportivo la Coruna after hosting the champions, but Llorente believes they have to bounce back quickly from back-to-back defeats to Granada and Sevilla.
Osasuna, who yesterday confirmed the six-month loan signing of midfielder Miguel de las Cuevas from Sporting Gijon, also crashed out of the Copa del Rey at the hands of Valencia in the week to cap a miserable run of form.
Llorente said: "It will be difficult because it is costing us not to take points from the games at home.
"On Saturday we have a hard game against an opponent who, although perhaps are not in their best moment, are still Real Madrid.
"The blow we received against Granada was hard and we are desperate to react. They are two very important games at home."