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Mourinho gives nothing away ahead of El Clasico

Spain,Sports, Sun, 07 Oct 2012 IANS

Madrid, Oct 7 (IANS) Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho kept his cards close to his chest ahead of Sunday's 'El Clasico' away with FC Barcelona.

Madrid travel to Barcelona eight points behind their rivals and a defeat would almost mean the end of their BBVA Primera Liga football ambitions for this season, whereas a win would put them right back in the race for the title, reports Xinhua.

Mourinho's side has won its last four matches, but when asked who would be in his starting line-up, the Real Madrid coach would give nothing away except to comment that strikers Gonzalo Higuain and Karim Benzema would not both be in the starting line-up.

He announced that his side would make the return trip to Barcelona on the day of the match explaining that when they had done so previously, such as last season when they won 2-1, Madrid had played well.

"In games like this, it is enough to get there with just enough time to think about the football: the players are very motivated," said Mourinho, who was expecting an open game.

"There will not be a patron in the match and you never know what is going to happen. They are both good team and both want to win the game. They are normally even games, but our main worry is to play well. We are improving and we want to get to the level that made us champions last year," commented the Madrid coach.

Mourinho was asked about the injuries to Barcelona defenders, Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique, but said he preferred to concentrate on his own side.

"Barca have a quality squad and more than enough to get over any problems," he said, adding he was pleased Carles Puyol's dislocated elbow was not as serious as had been feared.

When asked whether a defeat would mean the end of Madrid's title ambitions, he replied: "The game has still to be played, so don't be pessimistic. I always have faith in my players. When there are positive sensations, you always have more confidence, but I have been in football long enough to know that every game is different."

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