Zinedine Zidane’s team bounced back from their 4-3 aggregate loss to Celta Vigo in the Cup quarter-finals by romping to a 3-0 home win over Real Sociedad on Sunday to move four points clear at the top of the Spanish standings.
Real Madrid’s players would rather be in the hunt for the treble but their King’s Cup elimination has at least ensured a less demanding schedule as they bid for a first La Liga crown since 2011-12.
Real, who also have a game in hand on their title rivals, do not have the distraction of Cup game in midweek while Barca visit Atletico Madrid on Wednesday in the first leg of the semi-final. Barcelona, who drew 1-1 at Real Betis on Sunday, and Sevilla, 3-1 losers at Espanyol, are level on 42 points.
“We are in a great position and we have a good advantage,” Real Madrid winger Lucas Vazquez told Spanish Radio. Real have a full week to prepare for Sunday’s league game at Celta Vigo while Barca will have just three days to recover before they host Athletic Bilbao.
“It’s true that there are still a lot of games to play and we must be humble in our approach,” Real goalkeeper Keylor Navas told the club website. “We know that if we want to be champions we have to win every game.”
Zidane is hoping Croatian midfielder Luka Modric and Colombian winger James Rodriguez recover in time to face Celta. Rodriguez has been out with a calf injury since Jan. 7 while Modric has missed Real’s last two games with a hamstring problem.
“The idea is to have Luka Modric back this week, but I can’t say when. It’s the same with James,” Zidane said.