Schuster calls for focus at Real

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Real Madrid coach Bernd Schuster has demanded focus ahead of a week which could make or break his Bernabeu reign.

The German coach has come under pressure following an inconsistent opening to the campaign both at home and abroad.

Defeat away at BATE Borisov in Europe tonight could severely damage their chances of reaching the knock-out stages of the Champions League and Schuster has warned against complacency.

Real are expected to encounter difficult playing conditions in Minsk.

"If we are not well prepared, especially in these conditions, we are going to suffer because it will take us a while to get into the game," he admitted.

"It is necessary to be fired-up from the first minute.

"They are a dangerous team and they will be very motivated to play against us."

Meanwhile, Schuster has received some backing from an unexpected source - Barcelona president Joan Laporta.

After 12 games of the season, second-placed Real are three points behind Barcelona after beating Huelva 1-0 on Saturday.

He said "Schuster has done a very good job at Madrid and that is there for everyone to see as he has a consistent team.

"It is the law of football that if things are not going very well then the coach is criticised, but for me that is unfair because he has shown that he is a great coach.

"But I am never pleased when others are having problems. We are focussed on ourselves and try to do the best that we can and look to improve day-by-day.

"We have the spirit to win, but we do not revel in other team's difficulties."

Closer to home, Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta has returned to light training ahead of schedule and could be back in time to feature in the Classico fixture against Real Madrid.

The 24-year-old Spain international has been sidelined since suffering a torn thigh muscle in a Champions League clash against FC Basel on November 4.

Barca face their biter rivals at the Camp Nou on December 14 and the influential midfielder could be included in coach Josep Guardiola's squad for the first meeting of the sides this season.