Real Madrid defender Pepe says the club will have to dig deep to secure victory against Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday.
Madrid coach Rafa Benitez has to deal with Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez still being on the sidelines due to injury, but Pepe believes the capital club have the quality to cover for them.
“James and Bale are two great players and we’ll definitely miss them. But we have top quality players in the squad who are going to come in fully motivated and eager to help our club,” the Portuguese defender said.
Real have won three and drawn one of their opening four La Liga games but struggled somewhat in their 1-0 win against Granada on Saturday.
Bilbao have had a difficult start to their campaign, however, only winning one of their first four match-ups.
“We have to be ready and we hope, with all humility, that we’ll win,” Pepe said.
“We are going to be up against a team that shows a lot of character, a lot of hunger and we’re expecting a very tough match.
“We’ll have to work hard and give it our all if we’re to come away from there with a good result”.
Pepe signed a one-year contract extension with Real last month, keeping him in Madrid until the end of the 2016-17 season.
“I feel very fulfilled as a player after extending my contract with the best club in the world. I feel good and am enjoying my role in the team,” Pepe said.
“I’m still eager to add a lot to the team and it’s with that mentality that I work towards helping my team-mates”.