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By ESPN Staff
Jan 9, 2007

Real demand more professionalism from players

MADRID, Jan 9 (Reuters) - Real Madrid sports director Predrag Mijatovic has promised to get tough with the team's underperforming players.

Mijatovic met with coach Fabio Capello and president Ramon Calderon at the club's training ground on Monday to discuss the side's recent poor run of form - Real have lost three of their last four matches.

'We are going to change a number of things in the club's internal disciplinary regime,' Mijatovic told Spanish state television.

'We are going to ask more of the players in terms of commitment and professionalism. We need a professional team to be able to perform to the highest standards.'

Real remain third in the standings but their performances in the 2-0 defeat to Deportivo Coruna on Sunday, and in the 3-0 reverse to Recreativo Huelva in the Bernabeu in December, have been limp.

Under president Calderon the club have spent close to 100 million euros on eight players since July, including three youngsters for the January transfer window, but many have not lived up to expectations.

Spanish media have reported that some players are unhappy with the coach and that others have sometimes not been in a fit state when they turned up to training.

'We have had a series of problems. People talk about Ronaldo and Robinho but that's not the point. These things happen and I don't want to talk about that now,' Mijatovic added.

On Tuesday, daily El Mundo quoted Mijatovic as saying: 'It isn't the first time Capello has had a crisis of this type and I am sure he will cope with it.

'I am convinced we will be able to celebrate winning a title this June.'

Real, who have not lifted a major trophy in three seasons, face Real Betis away in the first leg of their King's Cup last 16 tie on Thursday.