Alonso: Dont let Atletico settle
Xabi Alonso says Real Madrid must not let visiting neighbours Atletico Madrid feel comfortable inside the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu during Friday night's Copa del Rey final.
Atletico supporters have this week recalled that they have won three of the previous four 'derbi' finals, with each of those victories coming at the Bernabeu.
However, Madrid boss Jose Mourinho has been able to name previous injury doubts Sergio Ramos, Mesut Ozil, Marcelo and Alvaro Arbeloa in his provisional squad for the game, adding to the confidence of Blancos fans well aware that Atletico have not beaten their city rivals in any game since 1999.
The midfielder told Real Madrid TV that his side were favourites in their own stadium, but must not allow Atletico to feel at home there.
"If we play well and are on form then we will have chances to win the match," Alonso said. "But Atletico has a very competitive team who will come into the game with the same determination as we have. It is a fantastic opportunity for them and we cannot let them feel comfortable."
Having overcome Alcoyano, Celta Vigo, Valencia and Barcelona to reach this stage, Madrid must not now let the trophy slip, said the Basque playmaker.
"It has been a long road to get here, with difficult moments and you know that a small detail can leave you out of the competition," Alonso said. "Now we are where we wanted to be, in the final. It should be a very exciting match - a derby against Atletico, in the same city and in our stadium. All the ingredients are there to make it a great night and we hope that we end it feeling good, happy and with the trophy in our hands."
After losing out to Barcelona in La Liga, and Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League, the Copa was a chance for Jose Mourinho's side to end the season on a high, Alonso said.
"Even though we could not win La Liga or the Champions League we want the Copa and all our ambition is focused on winning it," he said. "We are confident and in good form. We will give everything to win."