Skip to main content

La Liga Preview: Rayo Vallecano v Real Madrid

Real slipped four points adrift of Barca after losing El Clasico 2-1 before the international break.

But the European champions were at their irrepressible best at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday as - flanked by five goals from superstar Cristiano Ronaldo - Real turned over Granada.

Head coach Ancelotti was understandably elated with the performance of his team, but the Italian is only seeking maximum points - however they come - against Rayo Vallecano at Campo de Futbol de Vallecas on Wednesday.

"It's simple mathematics. It's better to win nine games 1-0 than one 9-1," he said.

"This [Granada victory] is just one game and we have other important ones coming up. On Wednesday we need to be fully focused like we were."

The clash marks the second of three games in the space of seven days for Real, but Ancelotti sees no benefit in rotating a winning team unless injury necessitates changes.

"The team are very fresh," he added. "Resting players for the sake of resting them makes no sense. The players will rest when they are tired and there is a risk of injury.

"The team are in great shape. We have never been in such good physical shape, especially not last year. I can't use 12 players. If someone isn't 100 per cent [fit], he won't play."

One of the most pleasing aspects for Real against Granada was the form of attacking trio Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale.

Bale opened the scoring, while Benzema was also on target twice. The French striker described Ronaldo as a "phenomenon" after the game and says the threesome are capable of keeping up their form in the last nine matches of the campaign.

"We are helping the team, sometimes we score and sometimes we don't, but we are in good shape to continue like this until the end of the season," he said.

Rayo's recent record against their Madrid neighbours has been abysmal, with Real winning the past 13 La Liga contests between the two teams – including a 5-1 drubbing in the reverse fixture in November.

But Paco Jemez's men are in a team in form having won four of their past five Liga matches and Alberto Bueno has been at the forefront of their run with eight goals in his last five outings.

The forward is relishing the Real showdown, saying: "We are not afraid, far from it. We are very excited and looking forward to the games."