August 19, 2019
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Hard work is a must says Real Madrid coach ahead of derby clash with Atletico

Madrid, Feb 8 (efe-epa).- Real Madrid head coach Santiago Solari stressed Friday that perseverance was the only way to secure a place in his squad's starting lineup, adding that teamwork comes ahead of individualism, ahead of a key league match against bitter cross-town rival Atletico Madrid.

Solari made these remarks during a press conference when asked about the situation of Spain midfielder Francisco Alarcon, best known as Isco.

"A professional footballer's job is to train at 100 percent to be ready to do his bit for the team," Solari said on the eve of a highly anticipated La Liga clash against Atletico.

"The team is in great shape, everyone is working very hard and showing commitment in every session to ensure this group takes the game to the opposition every week, just as we are showing," the 42-year-old coach added.

Isco had to withdraw from the team's final training session ahead of facing Atletico, according to Solari, who put the midfielder in doubt for Saturday's game, scheduled to be held at the Atletico's modern Wanda Metropolitano stadium.

"Isco left training with some pain in his back and we will assess him this evening," the coach said.

The 34-time capped Isco is expected to be excluded from the squad for the upcoming game, as will be Spanish midfielder Marcos Llorente, who has been struggling with a physical issue.

Solari stressed his good relationship with Atletico coach and fellow Argentine, Diego Simeone, saying, "Comparisons are pointless. I respect and admire Cholo. We were teammates for the national side and he was my coach at San Lorenzo," Solari said.

"It has been a wonderful experience for me to share things with him on a professional level, he has got so much to offer. Tomorrow will be a brilliant game, that's all we're concerned with. We'll have to put all our energy into it to compete, we're two teams who love to compete," he added.

"Respect for your opposition has nothing to do with expressing yourself based on your own performance," Solari said, commenting on the potential reaction of Spain striker Alvaro Morata, a former Madrid player who joined Atletico on loan after a stop at Chelsea.

Known as the Madrid Derby the rivalry first began at the beginning of the 20th century, as Madrid was founded in 1902 and Atletico was founded a year later.

Madrid presently leads the series 109 matches to Atletico's 56 wins, with 56 draws.

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