14 January 2013
Real Madrid will play against Valencia tomorrow at the Santiago Bernabeu in the first leg of their Copa del Rey quarterfinal tie. Angel di Maria spoke about the match with the media in the press room: "The Bernabeu crowd has a very important role. We know that playing the first match at home we have to get a good result so that we can go into the second leg more relaxed or with an advantage over Valencia. They are a tough opponent, they are in good form but we will try to do our best".
The Whites are to play against Valencia three times, about which the Argentine said: "Every match is different. The cup is the cup and the league is different. We know that we will have to play very well to get a result at home. Then, in the league, it is different because three points are at stake and it’s not a knockout".
Valencia have secured seven wins in the eight matches that Valverde has been in charge. Di Maria praised the quality that their opponents have: "It is a very difficult match. A tough opponent that we know will come to the Bernabeu to win and that are not going to wait and see what happens. They have very good players and go out onto the field as equals against Real Madrid. We know what to expect and we will try to do our best to get a good result to take into the second leg. We know it's a very important match for us because the league will be hard to win. The Copa del Rey and the Champions League are two very important goals for the remainder of the year and we want to try to win them".
The Whites’ midfielder continues to work hard to perform at the highest level with the Whites: "I feel great, I work hard to be at 100%. Lately I have not been playing, but because of coaching decisions and I work hard every day to get into the starting eleven or be there whenever the coach needs me. It is difficult in the sense that when a player is not playing it is harder to go on for 15 or 20 minutes and it is not the same as playing from the start. Not having the same continuity as previous years means that is difficult to be at the same tempo, but I'm working on that and I try to maintain the level that I was at before".
Real Madrid turn their thoughts to a different competition having played in the league last Saturday: "The mindset changes because we know it is a very difficult knockout tie. We know that a poor result at home could put us out and that Valencia are a very difficult opponent. The mentality that each individual player has is what we change. Things in the league are not going well but when we played against Celta at home and we knew we had to win, we gave everything and even playing a man down we ended up winning".
About Cristiano Ronaldo’s future with the Whites and his absence from the last match he said: "That's personal. Each individual knows what he has to do. He still has a contract. From my point of view he is a very important player for Real Madrid and the club need him. I think he has done things in the best way to get the renewal. Then it's his decision if he wants to stay, if he wants to renew or not. When Cristiano plays there is an obvious difference, he is a very important player and it always shows when he is not playing. He can play a definitive role at any moment, but we have other players who are doing very well and are in good form too".
The Argentine answered questions about whether Mourinho has given an explanation for him not starting matches: "I have not said anything to him. Neither when I was playing nor when I'm not playing. They are coaching decisions. When he wants to talk with a player, he does so and when he doesn’t, he doesn’t. He has decided to take another approach about who is not in the starting eleven and who is on the bench. It is his choice. Every coach puts out the eleven that they want to play and I want to keep working hard to be in that eleven".
Referring to recent refereeing decisions that the Whites have suffered because of and Kaka's sending-off against Osasuna, he said: "I think that recently referees have made mistakes that have gone against us. That is football, these things happen. About Kaka, the first yellow was for an elbow but on TV it looks like they jumped back-to-back and he did not see him, and for the second, it was bad luck. They wanted to take it quickly and the opposing player surely knew that he was on a yellow and he got sent off. You all know more than anyone that lately, with Real Madrid, referees are getting confused and are making bad decisions. There have been sending-offs, yellow cards and things that opponents could have got sent off for but didn’t and then they send one of us off for the slightest thing. These things happen but I think that sometimes they are mistakes that are not made by mistake".
About the mood in the dressing room, he said that it is "the best it can be. Obviously last year we were higher up in the league and the motivation in this competition was different. We still have the Copa del Rey and the Champions League to play for and we want to win them both and the entire dressing room think the same way. We are not letting the league go. There are tough matches where sometimes the results do not go your way. Being Real Madrid we should not be so far away from first place. Barcelona are very good but we’re trying to get some good continuity to get closer".
In conclusion, he referred to the Champions League tie against Manchester United and the team’s form: "We have to keep improving, try to play like we did at home against Celta. Hopefully we can be at that level when we play in the Champions League. It is essential for us and what we want most of all. We know that we have a tough match against Manchester United, but we also have a chance to go through".