Thibaut Courtois insisted Real Madrid have not given up hope of catching LaLiga leaders Barcelona and dramatically retaining their title.
It would take a Barcelona collapse and consistent winning from Madrid to transform the situation at the top of the Spanish top flight.
Although Madrid won 2-0 on Saturday against Celta Vigo to trim Barcelona’s lead to eight points, the Catalans had a home game against Atletico Madrid coming up on Sunday.
Were Barcelona to win that, their lead would be back to 11 points with eight rounds of games remaining. Even if Barcelona were to lose, their lead would still be such that they would remain firm title favourites.
Still, Madrid see no reason to give up hope, with goalkeeper Courtois telling broadcaster DAZN: “We are going to fight until the last game, until it is mathematically impossible.”
He said it was “a pity” Madrid had dropped points at times this season but signalled that Champions League commitments can impact on domestic results.
@thibautcourtois: “Hi Madridistas, very happy with the win here at home. Next up, Girona! Big hug, Hala Madrid!” #RealMadridCelta pic.twitter.com/Ylqrp1BgkS
— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadriden) April 22, 2023
Last season saw Madrid pull off a Champions League and LaLiga double, and they are through to the semi-finals in Europe once again this term, with home and away games against Manchester City coming up in May, plus a Copa del Rey final against Osasuna.
That cup showdown comes on May 6, and Courtois said: “We want to win on the next three matchdays and when the time comes for the cup final, we’ll see how far away we are.
“We want to keep winning and have a good feeling ahead of the Champions League. It’s key that we’re all well. Hopefully we end the season well.”
Madrid head coach Carlo Ancelotti made five changes to his starting XI, four days on from his team’s 2-0 win at Chelsea that clinched a 4-0 aggregate quarter-final win against his former club in the Champions League.
Marco Asensio, one of those brought in, rifled the opening goal, and his corner set up Eder Militao to head the second.
6 – @realmadriden‘s Éder Militão has scored more headed goals than any other defender from the top five European leagues this season in all competitions (6 out of 7). Hammer. pic.twitter.com/86ec6KN9ym
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) April 22, 2023
“Making an XI is complicated, because we are lucky to have a plugged in dressing room,” Ancelotti said. “We must rotate, because this part of the season is very demanding.”
The veteran coach was concerned about the playing surface and said the Santiago Bernabeu pitch “has to improve”, while Ancelotti also paid tribute to the all-action Eduardo Camavinga, thriving at left-back after the 20-year-old was recently switched from midfield.
Camavinga had a team-high 113 touches and completed six of seven dribbles, with both aspects being the most he has achieved in a LaLiga game for Madrid.
“He has extraordinary quality. He has energy and is complete,” said Ancelotti. “As such, he can play any position successfully.”
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