21 September 2014 21:21
Real Madrid will hope their historic 8-2 La Liga win over Deportivo La Coruna on Saturday provides momentum for Tuesday’s clash with Elche.
Coach Carlo Ancelotti had come under a little pressure after successive defeats to Real Sociedad and then bitter rivals Atletico Madrid in the league.
A 5-1 hammering of Basel in the UEFA Champions League provided a morale boost and then Real proceeded to obliterate newly promoted Depor 8-2, scoring more than they had ever managed in a single league match on the road.
Captain and goalkeeper Iker Casillas was the one player to bear the brunt of fans’ ire, the 33-year-old being peppered with jeers in the Atletico defeat and subsequent calls for close-season arrival Keylor Navas to come in.
However, with Ancelotti making no hints about dropping the Spaniard for the Elche meeting, club president Florentino Perez urged supporters to refrain from such actions.
“The only thing I can say about Casillas is that he deserves our respect,” Perez said.
“He’s been at the club for fifteen years and sometimes he doesn’t deserve the boos that he gets.
“I don’t like it and it doesn’t make us stronger. Our strength lies in unity.
“Let’s let him work without pressure and let’s let the coach do what he needs to do.”
Real host Elche at the Santiago Bernabeu and will be expected to continue their form against the club from Alicante.
Elche have never recorded a league win against Real in the capital, losing 17 times and drawing the other three of their 20 meetings.
Real comfortably defeated Fran Escriba’s men 3-0 at home last term, although things were a lot tougher in Elche as a Cristiano Ronaldo penalty in second-half stoppage time secured a 2-1 win, just a few moments after Richmond Boakye equalised for the hosts.
Elche last earned a point at Real in the 1975-76 campaign and have only ever scored eight times at the Bernabeu.
But, barring any late problems, Escriba’s men travel to Madrid with a fully-fit squad on the back of Friday’s disappointing 2-0 home defeat to La Liga newboys Eibar.
Real, meanwhile, look set to only be without long-term absentees Sami Khedira (thigh) and Jese Rodriguez (knee), but Dani Carvajal could return to the starting line-up after recovering from a hamstring problem.