Valencia midfielder Ever Banega says his side will have to be at their best if they are to beat the out of form Real Madrid on Sunday.
The reigning La Liga champions were roundly criticised for their display during Saturday’s scoreless draw with cellar-dwellers Osasuna.
Jose Mourinho’s side are 18 points behind leaders Barcelona in third position, after just one win from their past four games.
However, Banega believes Valencia will have to remain focused if they are to claim their first win against the Spanish giants since May 2009.
“Madrid are Madrid and anyone who beats them does well, but we have to focus on our game and not rely on what they do,” said Banega, who will also face Madrid in their Copa del Rey quarter-final first leg on Tuesday.
“We’re good. We have won several games in a row and the team is doing well, with sacrifice and hard work, and now we face the first game against Madrid, which is a good time to know where we are.”
The Argentina international has returned to action this season after eight months out injured with a broken leg, but said he hasn’t dwelled on the problem since regaining his fitness.
“I forgot about the injury,” he said. “When jumping onto the pitch I do not think about it or play with fear.
“I simply try to do well and strive for the good of the team.”
Fans of Valencia have regularly protested against president Manuel Llorente after a number of seemingly poor decisions, especially the sacking of coach Mauricio Pellegrino, but the 24-year-old called on the supporters to get behind the team while the game is being played.
“Something was said, of what had happened, but the important thing is to be all united by a common cause, which is that Valencia win and are as high as possible in the table, and try to leave the other side of things,” he added.