Di Maria geared up for cup challenge

A look ahead to the midweek action in the Spanish Copa del Rey.

Last Updated: 14/01/13 at 15:26 Post Comment

Angel Di Maria: Confident ahead of Celta clash

Angel Di Maria: Confident ahead of Celta clash

Free £50 bet

Daily Offers and Promotions, sign up for a free £50 matched bet

Real Madrid winger Angel Di Maria is confident his side can put aside their disappointing league campaign when they face Valencia in the Copa del Rey quarter-finals, but fears it will be far from easy against their in-form opponents.

Madrid head into Tuesday's first leg at the Bernabeu with their Primera Division title defence seemingly in tatters after falling 18 points behind Barcelona in the wake of their goalless draw at rock-bottom Osasuna on Saturday.

That result left Madrid with just one win in their last four league matches but Di Maria hopes the cup can spark his side back to life.

"I think we can do it. We know it's very difficult to win the league, and the cup and Champions League are two major objectives left this year. And that's an important motivation.

"We need to be at the same level as we played against Celta," he added, referring to their success in the previous round when they won 4-0 in the second leg after trailing 2-1 from the first.

Madrid would love a similar victory on Tuesday night, but with Valencia having won seven of their last eight matches in all competitions, Di Maria knows it is going to be tough.

"It's a very complicated tie and a bad result at home could knock us out. Valencia are difficult and we're not doing well in the league, but when we played against Celta we had to win and we gave it everything and managed to do it with a player less.

"We need a good result to be relaxed going to Valencia. They are going through a good moment."

In a quirk of the fixture list, Madrid and Valencia also face each other in the league this weekend before meeting in the second leg next week.

It is a similar story in the quarter-final clash between Barcelona and Malaga, with the pair having also met in the league yesterday.

Barca won that match 3-1 to finish the first half of the season with an astonishing 55 points out of a possible 57 - a Primera Division record.

Tito Vilanova's men were convincing winners in that clash, but midfielder Andres Iniesta knows his side need to start again from scratch when they host Malaga in the cup first leg on Wednesday.

He said: "It's always more complicated when you play the same team consecutively. It's very important to get a good result at home."

Barca winger Pedro Rodriguez, whose side will face arch rivals Madrid in the semi-finals if both teams get through, added: "Malaga have shown us they are a good team and they'll make it difficult for us in the cup."

This week's other two quarter-final first legs see league high-flyers Atletico Madrid host Real Betis on Thursday, and Sevilla go to Real Zaragoza on Thursday.


Click here for completely free £10 bet with Sky Bet & £5 free every week


Free £50 bet

Daily Offers and Promotions, sign up for a free £50 matched bet

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

C

lassic management. Build them up and then knock them back. Raise expectations and then dampen them. Create a dynamic where by you demand the most from your team, but where the team are given room to manoeuvre unexpected or unwanted results. Classy work by Van Gaal, he really reminds me a lot of me. A smart cookie, make no doubt.

hump3.
Van Gaal: 'I struggle for first three months'

H

e will be the England left back for ten years or more, and then you will have to thank MUFC for that. *smiles*

london saint
Shaw: Criticism spot on

P

urely because of that little diva moment he had last night, I don't want him coming to my club. DESTROYED ? Grow up and give something back to the club that helped put you up there on the world stage.

bale doubt
Saints' Schneiderlin stalemate

Footer 365

Manchester United legend Paul Scholes says current squad unbalanced

Manchester United legend Paul Scholes says the current squad at Old Trafford is unbalanced.

Liverpool's Steven Gerrard told Luis Suarez he was too good for Arsenal

Steven Gerrard has revealed he told Luis Suarez to stay at Liverpool last season as he was too good for Arsenal.

West Ham's Ravel Morrison charged with assaulting two women

West Ham midfielder Ravel Morrison has been charged with assaulting two women.

Mail Box

Divock Origi Is Like Connor Sammon (Sort Of)

One Mailboxer inserts his tongue into cheek to offer his thoughts on Liverpool's newest signing. Plus thoughts on league-owned clubs, badges, and swearing...

Mails Come From A Land Down Under

We have an example of league-owned clubs from Australia while Kiwi boys want more respect for refs. Plus, Van Gaal won't stick with 3-5-2 and worried if Koeman will cut it...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property