Raul Albiol all but conceded Real Madrid’s La Liga defence over, but said their league matches can be useful for Spanish cup competitions.
Real dropped a further two points after being held to a 0-0 draw by Osasuna on Saturday, with Kaka dismissed for two yellow cards, and the former Valencia man said improvement is essential.
“We are not having a great time in La Liga,” the 27-year-old told the club’s official website.
“But we have to improve and we need to go into the knock-out matches in the cup and the Champions League as well as we can.
“We know that the group of players are the same as last year and we hope to reach that level as soon as possible. A Champions League tie is special.
“We would like to go into it with a perfect record. We know the team’s potential and we’re going to prepare to get to the Manchester United match in top form.”
Madrid are third on the table, 15 points behind Barcelona, but Albiol has rejected any suggestion that there are issues in the dressing room that underpin their indifferent form.
“We are not lacking motivation,” he added.
“We get it just because we play for Real Madrid and we are have to go out to win wherever we are playing.”