Eusebio: "Madrid will field a top level side, whoever plays"
Real Sociedad coach Eusebio, who has selection worries of his own, says Real Madrid "will be different, but just as strong as they always are" at Anoeta tomorrow.
As always, Eusebio Sacristán's only concern is with his own team going into tomorrow's Week 36 meeting with Real Madrid in San Sebastián. The Real Sociedad coach will be without the suspended Carlos Vela, Jonathas and Iñigo Martínez, who picked up a knee injury at the end of today's training session. Real Madrid meanwhile are without Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and will rest Toni Kroos for the game.
How will you be approaching this meeting with Real Madrid?
Our plan is to continue with the same ideas and approach which we use in all of our games; which means trying to supress the qualities of our opponents, looking to exploit their weak areas and playing with intensity from start to finish.
What kind of Real Madrid side are you expecting after their Champions?
They are a very strong side with quality players who possess great physical strength and fitness; they also have a great mentality – the kind of mentality which will allow them to fight for both of the competitions they are left in - and they are in with a chance of winning both competitions. So we know all about the difficulties we will be facing; they are going to demand a lot from us, but we are prepared for them - there is no lack of desire and determination on our part to compete to our best level.
Jonathas' asbence could open the door for [Sanse forward] Jon Bautista?
It’s an option that we are considering - amongst others. Mikel [González] can also play in that position. I'll decide on one of the three options open to us and choose the best one for the start of the game – the one which is more likely to put our rivals in difficulties. I am very happy with all of the work that Jon has been doing with us and I feel he's at the level required to help us - whether it's at the start of the game or coming on later. He’s a very intuitive player who knows when to be in the right place at the right time, and always manages to get a shot in on goal.
How important is Carlos Vela's absence?
Very important - just as all of the players who are unavailable are important losses for us. In the last game, against Villarreal, he played a vital role for the team because he has a lot of quality and his movements bewteen lines brought us a lot, and without him, we're less able to play that kind of game - we'll have to look at doing something different, with other players such as [Mikel] Oyarzabal or Bautista.
Madrid without Cristiano and Benzema...
Year after year Madrid have a squad of the highest level and this one is no different, so we have to be ready to confront a team of the highest level and full of talent, and also be prepared for something different from the usual because the players who take to the field tomorrow will bring them something else to what we are used to.
Has it crossed your mind to give Barcá a hand by beating Madrid tomorrow?
All I think about is La Real, and just that keeps me occupied 100% of the time; in the end, leagues are won by the team who has shown the most merit and who deserve it most; there is a lot at stake for both teams tomorrow - for us, we have to think about the feelings of our fans and those who will be coming to the match - people we can never let down. I meanwhile have to focus solely on my job.
Will the number of absentees make the game a little decaffinated?
For the players and the coaching staff, any Real Sociedad vs Real Madrid is very important for us and we are fired up to put in a great game. At the end of the day, we are all football teams and football teams are comprised of a lot of players. The season is long and allows other players to show their worth, that they have value, and show that the squad has been designed well.
Real Sociedad squad:
Goalkeepers: Rulli, Oier Olazabal
Defenders: Zaldua, Elustondo, Mikel, Diego Reyes, Yuri, De la Bella, Héctor,
Midfielders: Illarramendi, Markel, Granero, Rubén Pardo, Zurutuza, Bruma
Forwards: Xabi Prieto, Oyarzabal, Bautista