Champions League

Di Matteo plays down Madrid 'crisis' talk

2015-03-10 10:46
Roberto Di Matteo (Supplied)
Roberto Di Matteo (Supplied)

Madrid - Schalke coach Roberto di Matteo believes his side must score first at the Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday if they are to have any chance of overturning a 2-0 first leg deficit against Real Madrid in the last 16 of the Champions League.

Madrid destroyed Schalke 9-2 on aggregate on their way to winning the Champions League for a 10th time last season, but have stumbled recently in La Liga.

Carlo Ancelotti's men were beaten for a fourth time in 14 games in 2015 at Athletic Bilbao on Saturday to surrender top spot in La Liga to Barcelona for the first time in five months.

"We have to score the first goal and if we open the scoring then the match could be interesting for us," said the Italian, who won the Champions League when in charge of Chelsea in 2012.

Madrid's star front three of Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale have particularly come in for criticism as the goals have dried up for Los Blancos in recent weeks.

However, Di Matteo dismissed suggestions Schalke were meeting Madrid at the right time to cause an upset.

"I don't believe Real Madrid are in a crisis. I hope the media is right that the strikers are not in good form. We will need a little bit of luck as well tomorrow night to get a positive result.

"The game on Saturday was different. It was an away game in Bilbao, who are a very strong team, and they didn't allow Real Madrid to get into their flow.

"Tomorrow they play in front of their home fans and I think it will be different.

"I think three weeks ago they were talking about a crisis as well with the Real Madrid team. I don't expect a team in crisis tomorrow."


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