Dani Carvajal wants Real Madrid to make the most of their “golden opportunity” at the top of La Liga when they host struggling Malaga on Saturday.
Rafael Benitez’s side battled to a 2-1 win at Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday, a result that saw them climb to the summit thanks to Barcelona’s shock 4-1 defeat to Celta Vigo.
Real have won their last five games on the bounce in all competitions, conceding just once, and full-back Carvajal is keen to see them continue their form when Javier Gracia’s team – who are yet to win or score in La Liga this term – visit the Santiago Bernabeu.
“It’s always good to be top of the table, but we have to carry on and keep on winning games to be champions come May,” the Spain international said.
“We knew about Barcelona’s half-time score [2-0 down at Balaidos] and that it was a golden opportunity to take top spot. It’s an added source of motivation to get out there and play.”
Malaga, meanwhile, were beaten 1-0 by Villarreal on Wednesday and their failure to score this season is a source of growing concern for head coach Gracia.
“I’m worried about it,” Gracia said, with Malaga having gained just two points from five games. “The players are different [to last season]. The squad is angry, sad, desolate.
“It’s difficult after a game like this, with an own goal. What I always highlight is the value of our supporters.
“They cheer us up and keep supporting us, and soon we’ll give them what they deserve.”
Real could welcome captain Sergio Ramos back for Saturday’s match as he continues to recover well from a shoulder injury, though James Rodriguez (hamstring) is unlikely to be risked.
Danilo (foot) and Gareth Bale (calf) are Benitez’s only other injury concerns.
Malaga are desperate for goals and striker Nordin Amrabat could be fit enough to feature after returning to training this week following an ankle injury.
Roque Santa Cruz (hamstring) and Ignacio Camacho (groin) are still out.