Real Madrid vow to fight to the end

Real Madrid director general Jorge Valdano insists the side will fight to the bitter end as they seek to win the La Liga title, despite losing to rivals Barcelona 2-0 on Saturday evening.

Los Blancos now trail the current league champions by three points with seven games remaining, but he is not giving up on the expensively assembled team.

"The Clasico wasn't the match we had dreamed about," he said to reporters.

"I can understand why the fans are frustrated because expectations were so high.

"Perhaps the team felt it had too much responsibility placed on its shoulders when it took the pitch. We were much more relaxed in the first match at the Nou Camp.

"Whether we win the league or not, seven finals remain and we are obligated to play our hearts out until 16 May.

"By earning the remaining 21 points we would finish with a league record 98. That is why we are required to put forth our best effort."

Barcelona talisman Xavi has pleaded with his team-mates to keep their cool following Saturday night's fantastic 2-0 La Liga win over fierce rivals Real Madrid sent them three points clear at the top of the table.

Lionel Messi and Pedro scored the crucial goals at Santiago Bernabeu and, although they are now in control with seven games of the season to go, he has urged for caution while heaping praise on coach Pep Guardiola for his managerial style.

Speaking to reporters, he said: "We have not done anything yet, we are not champions. We have seven finals and know we cannot fail because Madrid will not throw in the towel.

"Everything depends on the coach you have, Guardiola has been brave and under him we have always gone to attack.

"Prior to that we went to the Bernabeu not to lose and now we're going to win, trying to apply our pattern of play."

Tenerife defender Marc Bertran still believes the La Liga strugglers can avoid relegation at the end of the campaign despite sitting third from bottom and occupying a place in the drop zone.

The Islanders were held to a goalless draw against Valladolid at the weekend, who sit one place below them, and they are now five points adrift of Malaga with seven games remaining.

However, Bertran is confident they can turn their fortunes around and get out of trouble starting with their game at Sporting Gijon on Tuesday evening.

Speaking to reporters, he said: "We have faith and want to pull this off, but we know it is complicated.

"We expect to win in Gijon and in doing so claim a first away win of the season."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Teeth should be brushed twice a day to prevent tooth decay
Bryan Cranston as Walter White, in the acclaimed series 'Breaking Bad'
footballChelsea 6 Maribor 0: Blues warm up for Premier League showdown with stroll in Champions League - but Mourinho is short of strikers
Those who were encouraged to walk in a happy manner remembered less negative words
Arts and Entertainment
Princess Olga in 'You Can't Get the Staff'
tvReview: The anachronistic aristocrats, it seemed, were just happy to have some attention
Renee Zellweger as Bridget Jones
Life and Style

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London