Real Madrid 'ready' for Barcelona in Copa del Rey semifinals - Santiago Solari
Real Madrid coach Santi Solari said his team were "ready" for the possibility of a Clasico Copa del Rey semifinal following Thursday's 3-1 victory at Girona which sealed a 7-3 aggregate passage to the last four.
Karim Benzema's two excellently taken first half goals maintained Madrid's control of the tie, while Girona wing-back Pedro Porro scored after the break before young Blancos midfielder Marcos Llorente finished off the scoring at Montilivi.
Holders Barcelona, Valencia and this year's final hosts Real Betis are also in the draw, set to take place on Friday afternoon.
And Solari was asked at the postmatch news conference if he would prefer to avoid a home and away Clasico semifinal at this point of the season, just as the Champions League is starting again.
"We are four great teams in the semifinals," Solari said. "Both ties will be beautiful and difficult. We are very excited whoever we get, we will see tomorrow. If you want to win everything, you must be ready for anything. You need all players in the squad committed for that, and they are."
Not for the first time in recent years, Madrid have stumbled through the autumn only to hit form in the new year, scoring 13 goals while winning their last four games across the Copa and La Liga.
"The merit is all of the players," Solari said. "They came here today and played a very serious game from the start, battled and showed their class. Girona are a very good team with a different system, so we had to be very serious and solid.
"We played very well over the two legs. But the next game is another battle and we must keep doing the same, with all members of the squad committed as they are. These players are great champions who have given Madrid fans a lot of joy."
Benzema continued his recent outstanding form with two expertly taken goals, one off each foot.
"I am sorry for those who discovered Benzema last week," Solari said. "Karim has been doing this for many years, he has great talent, and generosity in his efforts. Saying that, it's true he's in a great moment of form, we are very happy with him."
Returning from his latest calf muscle problem, Gareth Bale made a second substitute appearance in four days. Asked if he was being cautious at introducing Bale back into his team, Solari just said he was happy to have almost all of his squad available for selection now.
"The players who have not been playing, coming back from injury, need to find their rhythm," he said. "We have almost everyone now, but can only choose 11 and then the subs. I wish I could use more than three."