La Liga Preview: Intensity the key for Deportivo

Deportivo La Coruna can avoid relegation if they maintain the attitude they displayed against Malaga, according to coach Victor Fernandez.

In Wednesday's Copa del Rey first leg, Deportivo fought back to draw 1-1 at their Estadio Municipal de Riazor and Fernandez wants to see a similar intensity and fighting spirit when they host Malaga again in La Liga on Saturday.

Due to a quirk in the fixture, Deportivo and Malaga will face each other three times in the space of four games across two competitions.

In their round of 32 first leg, Malaga hit the front in the 11th minute when Ignacio Camacho got free to head Luis Alberto's free-kick into the net.

But Deportivo, who have not won in six games in all competitions, eventually produced an equaliser with 22 minutes remaining when Toche poked the ball home after Malaga had failed to deal with a corner.

"We still improve, but, while we have this attitude and ambition, the future does not worry me," said Fernandez, who is in his first season as Deportivo's coach.

The 54-year-old added his team need to improve in the final third if they are to get out of La Liga's drop zone.

Deportivo sit 18th - the highest of the three relegation spots in Spain's top division - 10 points ahead of Saturday's clash with Malaga, only behind 17th-placed Almeria on goal difference.

"Football is the last pass, the final shot and we lacked marksmanship," Fernandez said.

Saturday's match will be the first league match at the Riazor since Deportivo fan Francisco Javier Romero Taboada died in violent clashes between La Coruna and Atletico Madrid fans last week.

Club president Tino Fernandez has vowed to ban the Riazor Blues - the Deportivo fan group allegedly involved in the deadly fight - and if Wednesday's game is anything to go by, the stadium will be quiet on Saturday.

Reigning champions Atletico will look to put some early pressure on Real Madrid and Barcelona on Saturday when they travel to Elche.

Atletico sit third in the table with 29 points, four adrift of leaders Real, while Barcelona (31) are second.

If Atletico knock off Elche, who are second-bottom, they will be poised to take advantage of any slip-ups by Real or Barca, who face Celta de Vigo later on Saturday and Espanyol on Sunday, respectively.

Real have won 10 straight games in La Liga, while Barca have three consecutive victories to their name.

Valencia will look to halt their mini slump when they take on Granada on Sunday - Nuno Espirito Santo's men have not won in three La Liga fixtures, while Sevilla will aim to stay ahead of their rivals with a win at Rayo Vallecano.

Athletic Bilbao could extend their unbeaten run to seven matches if they avoid defeat against bottom club Cordoba, while Villarreal host Real Sociedad, Almeria visit Eibar and Levante take on Getafe.