MADRID - Brief news from La Liga ahead of
the midweek round of matches:
Real Madrid's Portuguese internationals Pepe and Fabio
Coentrao picked up leg muscle injuries in Sunday's shock 1-0
defeat at Levante, the club said.
In a medical bulletin posted on their website, Real did not say how long centre-back Pepe
and midfielder Coentrao would be sidelined, although local media
reported they would both be out for around two weeks.
Jose Mourinho's side, fifth with six points from three
matches, play at Racing Santander on Wednesday.
Real need to improve their performances playing away
against teams like Levante otherwise their bid to end
Barcelona's three-year grip on the Spanish title will falter,
according to left-back Marcelo.
"Against these kinds of teams, like Levante, and at stadiums
like theirs, we fail too often," the Brazilian said in an
interview published in Tuesday's As sports daily.
"The worse thing is that those points are those that make
the difference at the end of the season," he added.
Champions Barca will not have Gerard Pique available for
Wednesday's match at early pacesetters Valencia even
after the Spain centre back returned to full training on Monday
following a calf injury.
"Although he trained completely normally with the
rest of his team mates he has still not been given the
all-clear," Barca said on their website.
Midfielder Andres Iniesta and forward Alexis Sanchez, who
have muscle tears, have been continuing their recuperation and
are not expected back for several weeks.
Pep Guardiola's side have scored 15 goals in their opening
three games, including an 8-0 humbling of Osasuna on Saturday.
Victory at Valencia, who have won their opening three games,
would put Barca top, at least until Thursday when surprise joint
leaders Real Betis, promoted at the end of last season, host
Barca's Spain Under-21 midfielder Thiago Alcantara does
not believe La Liga is a two-horse race between wealthy giants
Barca and Real, who each earn close to 500 million euros a season.
"The 'League of Two' is a big lie," he told a news
conference on Monday. "It has never been like that and it never
will be. Teams come with a lot of desire, they get the best out
of themselves and they come to win."
Valencia must not be scared of going after Barca on
Wednesday and need to play to win, midfielder Sergio Canales, on
loan from Real Madrid, said on Monday.
"Barcelona are perhaps the team who have made the least
mistakes, but we have to search for them," the Spain Under-21
international told a news conference. "We must not be afraid of
suffering a heavy defeat. We have to play knowing we can win."
Sevilla coach Marcelino has warned his players against
underestimating Osasuna when they play there later on Tuesday as he believes the Pamplona-based side will be smarting
after their thrashing at Barca.
"They are a team that use their weapons very well, with very
engaged supporters, and they know how to eke out results at
their stadium," he told a news conference.
Sevilla are fourth, level with Barca on seven points.
Sevilla's city rivals Betis are not letting
themselves get carried away after winning their opening three
matches, according to midfielder Benat Etxebarria.
"Our goal this year is to avoid relegation and once we have
achieved that, and the sooner the better, we'll see what our
other goals might be," he told a news conference.
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