Karanka: Real will keep fighting
Assistant coach Aitor Karanka promised there will be no let-up from Real Madrid despite Barcelona seemingly being on the verge of another La Liga title. Defending champions Barça, who host Espanyol this evening, need to pick up four points from their remaining four games to ensure the crown remains in Catalunya.
But Madrid showed no signs of giving up hope last night as they romped to a 6-2 win at Sevilla, Cristiano Ronaldo bagging four goals to move above Barça's Lionel Messi in the scoring charts. Karanka said: "We will continue fighting and winning matches out of respect for everyone.
"This is the track we need to be on. Every match is different. Playing a Copa tie isn't the same as a league match or a final. Every referee is different and [last night's] was a pleasure to play with. He lets teams play, which makes for fun, uninterrupted matches to watch."
Of Ronaldo's contribution, Jose Mourinho's number two said: "Cristiano capitalised on his talent. Nothing concerning the Pichichi [the trophy awarded to the top goalscorer in La Liga] has been pre-arranged. The match just unfolded like it did. We scored six goals against Valencia and he didn't score any of them."
Last night's game marked the second away match in succession in which Madrid have hit six, following the 6-3 triumph at third-placed Valencia on 23 April. However, last weekend's 3-2 defeat by Real Zaragoza at the Bernabeu sent their title bid off the rails.
Karanka continued: "The fact that we have played better on the road than at home in recent weeks is a fact. Looking at the schedule, you see all these hard road matches, but we lost matches that we didn't expect to lose.
"We need to pick up the pieces and learn from our mistakes heading into next season. We cannot lose points in matches that, at first glance, we are the superior team. Every point is important is such close league races."
Spain midfielder Xabi Alonso was substituted just before the hour mark as a precaution last night, with Karanka allaying fears after the match. "Xabi Alonso hurt himself while passing," he said. "We decided to sub him out to not force it. We need to wait for a diagnosis, but it doesn't appear to be serious."