• FT





  • FT

    Celta Vigo




  • FT

    R Zaragoza


    Real Madrid


  • FT






La Romareda, Spain

Attendance: 31000

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Real Zaragoza

  • Rodri 6'

1 - 1


Real Madrid

  • Cristiano Ronaldo 38'

Unity has been key - Ramos

Sergio Ramos claims improved unity in the Real Madrid camp has been the catalyst for their upturn in form over recent weeks.

After a slow start to the season, Jose Mourinho's men have won eight and drawn one of their last nine matches - a sequence highlighted by back-to-back wins over Barcelona in the league and cup, and victory against Manchester United in the Champions League.

Madrid nevertheless remain 13 points adrift of leaders Barca with 10 games remaining in La Liga, although their form suggests they could yet end the season on a high with a Copa del Rey final against Atletico Madrid to come and their Champions League ambitions very much alive and kicking.

A trip to a Real Zaragoza side searching for a first win in any competition since January 9 provides an ideal opportunity for Madrid to maintain their momentum, and Ramos admits he is delighted with their upturn in fortunes.

``I think everything as a whole,'' the defender told realmadrid.com when asked what was behind the team's resurgence.

``What followed the poor start to the season was a more united group, more eager, enthusiastic and ambitious to keep improving and doing things right. And the results are there.

``Obviously we can't set off fireworks just yet because we haven't won anything.

``It's true that our hard work has already paid off with the Copa del Rey final, but there's still a long way to go.

``We have to put in the same work and concentration and finish the season with success and, above all by winning titles.''

Team-mate Xabi Alonso stressed Madrid must keep chipping away in the league despite the gap to Barcelona, with city rivals Atletico just a point further back in third.

``The situation in the league is not ideal,'' Alonso said. ``But we have to keep on going in the same direction, playing well and trying to win every game.''

Alonso acknowledged that Zaragoza are not in good form at the moment but warned against complacency.

``Zaragoza are in trouble, they are on a bad run at the moment,'' he said. ``But visiting any ground in this league is always difficult and I don't think it's going to be easy at all.''

Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas is fit for selection for the first time since fracturing his hand two months ago and is expected to be named in the travelling party.

However, it remains to be seen whether Mourinho will recall the club captain or keep faith with Diego Lopez, who has impressed since his January arrival.

Zaragoza winger Victor Rodriguez admits his side face a gruelling end to the season.

The Aragonese were thumped 4-0 at Sevilla before the international break - marking their 12th match without a win - and sit just two points above the relegation zone.

``The international break came at the right time for us, we have worked hard and this time off has helped us clear our heads,'' Rodriguez said. ``Now we are ready to face two brutal months.''

Looking ahead to the visit of the champions, he added: ``We will need to run much harder than them and play with more intensity. We will need our fans right behind us.''

Zaragoza coach Manuel Jimenez was blunt in his appraisal of the task ahead, saying simply: ``We must be man enough to escape this situation we've got ourselves into.''

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