MADRID (AP) - Real Madrid’s match at Sevilla in the Spanish league on Wednesday is “the most important of the season” to coach Carlo Ancelotti.
Madrid is looking to bounce back from a demoralizing 4-3 loss to Barcelona on Sunday that dropped it behind Atletico Madrid in the standings.
Sevilla has won five straight and is eight points behind fourth-place Athletic Bilbao, which holds the final Champions League qualifying spot.
“The players aren’t happy. We need to forget about Sunday and prepare our best for the Sevilla match because it is the most important of the season,” Ancelotti said on Tuesday.
Madrid has appealed a red card issued to defender Sergio Ramos that set up one of the three penalties, with Ramos and Cristiano Ronaldo both questioning referee Undiano Mallenco’s professionalism.
“(We) don’t need to look to blame anyone for the defeat, we have to look forward. We’re in good shape, one point above Barcelona,” said Ancelotti, who added the club hasn’t “had much luck” when Mallenco officiates their games.
While Madrid awaits Ramos’ status for Wednesday’s match, winger Angel Di Maria is out to serve a one-game ban.
Meanwhile, Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino was hopeful another important victory would provide some stability to what has been an inconsistent season for the defending champion.
“My wish is that we compete at the same level and play similar to how we did” against Madrid, Martino said on Tuesday. “This has been a fundamental reason why we are where we are in the table. We’ve got to stay concentrated in all senses if we’re going to fight for the league title.”
Martino also dismissed continued questions over his future, saying “I’m a man of my word and I will see my contract through.” The Argentine’s deal is through the end of next season.
Barcelona, which ended Madrid’s 31-game unbeaten run with the victory, welcomes Celta Vigo to the Camp Nou on Wednesday.
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