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Dec 11, 2012

Karanka: Real want Copa win

Real Madrid assistant coach Aitor Karanka says his side are taking Wednesday night's Copa del Rey last-16 first leg at Celta Vigo very seriously, as they aim to win every competition they enter under Jose Mourinho.

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When asked to comment on captain Iker Casillas' assertion on Monday that he would accept losing the league title to Barcelona if he was guaranteed a victory in this season's Champions League final, the former Madrid defender said he did not see things that way.

"If the gap at the moment (11 points) makes the coaching team uncomfortable, how could we think about ending with an even bigger gap?" Karanka said. "At this club we fight for all titles, in each game."

This meant Madrid would try and avoid any unpleasant surprises by fielding a strong team for the game in Vigo, Karanka explained.

"Since I have been at Real Madrid, with this coaching team, we want to win every trophy," he said. "In my time as a player, when ties were just one game, you could be surprised. This coaching team gives the competition the utmost importance."

Celta, who slipped to 15th in the Primera Division after Sunday's 1-0 loss at Athletic Bilbao, have nonetheless impressed on their return to the Primera Division this season with some enterprising attacking football and were slightly unfortunate to lose 2-0 at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu in La Liga in October.

Karanka said he was impressed with Paco Herrera's side, but Madrid were aiming for a result which would make the second leg more comfortable.

"Celta play good football," he said. "In Bilbao, although they lost, they played a good game. They are playing well, but we want a good result to bring back for to the Bernabeu for the return leg (on Wednesday, January 9)."

Full-back Fabio Coentrao returned to training this week after missing Saturday's 3-2 win at Real Valladolid with a thigh problem, but may not return until the home game against Espanyol in La Liga on Sunday, hinted Karanka.

"He is nearly ready," he said. "But with Marcelo also out we will not run any risks in this game."

With Gonzalo Higuain and Raul Albiol also still unavailable Mourinho's options for rotation are limited, but squad players Antonio Adan, Kaka and Raphael Varane, as well as Madrid Castilla youngsters Nacho Fernandez and Jose Rodriguez were given opportunities in the previous round as Madrid eased through against third tier Alcoyano.

With Celta likely to provide a much stiffer test Karanka said it had not yet been decided whether stars such as Casillas would start at Balaidos.

"We will see how training goes (on Wednesday morning) and then we will decide," he said. "We will choose the best line-up possible to achieve a good result."

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