x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Casillas: Real have to show team spirit

Real Madrid's latest defeat in the Champions League raises new doubts about their lack of depth ahead of Malaga's visit.

Real Madrid's 2-0 home defeat to Juventus in the Champions League on Wednesday extended their poor recent run and raised new doubts about the lack of depth in the squad. The champions host Malaga tomorrow having won only two of their last seven matches and have watched their arch-rivals Barcelona surge to the top of the table and qualify for the Champions League last 16 with two matches to spare.

"The feeling in the dressing room is one of concern," the midfielder Guti said. "When you're not winning you get worried, all the more so as you are trying to do things well but it's just not working," he added. "The team need a confidence boost as soon as possible." An injury that ruled out the central defender Pepe and Arjen Robben's mishap during the warm-up left Real looking badly exposed on Wednesday, and the striker Ruud van Nistelrooy was well short of his best after recovering from a knee problem.

Robben's replacement in the starting line-up, his Dutch compatriot Royston Drenthe, had a match to forget. "We are not happy with the way things have gone," goalkeeper Iker Casillas said. "But it's right now, during the bad times, that we have to show that we are a team." Barcelona host Real Valladolid in tomorrow's other match and their coach Pep Guardiola has acknowledged that Tuesday's 1-1 draw against Basel in the Champions League was a reminder that they are not invincible.

The result secured a place in the last 16 but ended Barca's run of 11 wins in all competitions. Victory over Valladolid would be their eighth in a row in the league. * Reuters