MADRID - New Real Madrid coach Juande Ramos said he was planning to focus on making sure his players are in good mental shape in his first days in the job. The Primera Liga champions announced the surprise sacking of Bernd Schuster earlier on Tuesday and Ramos took charge of his first training session later in the afternoon at the club's sports centre on the outskirts of the capital. "An important aspect is psychological work," the former Sevilla and Tottenham Hotspur coach said at a post-training news conference. "The players have to know that they need to remain calm and dedicate themselves to what they know how to do to perfection, which is play football," he added. Real play Zenit St Petersburg at the Bernabeu on Wednesday in their Champions League Group C match. Juventus and Real have both qualified for the knockout phase from the group and the Italians need only a draw against BATE Borisov in Turin to secure top spot. In the league, Real slipped to fifth after Sunday's 4-3 home defeat to Sevilla and play leaders Barcelona at the Nou Camp on Saturday trailing their arch rivals by nine points. Ramos said he would be relying on his new colleagues on the Real staff for help. "My path has crossed with two or three players," he said. "But the technical staff at the club know the players better than me and I will be guided by their advice." Asked how it felt to wear the Real tracksuit for the first time, Ramos replied: "Everything has gone so fast that I haven't even had time to look in the mirror and see myself dressed in the white of Madrid. "I haven't been able to look at the rest of the stuff either. But there will be time."
9 December 2008
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