Real Madrid coach Julen Lopetegui has demanded an instant response from their midweek defeat at Sevilla when his side tackle derby rivals Atletico.
Los Blancos missed the chance to make the most of leaders Barcelona’s unexpected loss at Leganes when they went down 3-0 at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan on Wednesday night.
There is little chance for the squad – which must do without defender Marcelo for several weeks because of a calf injury – to regroup before Atletico head to the Bernabeu.
Lopetegui, though, is relishing such a key encounter so soon to help set the team back on course.
“Everything goes fast in football, wins and defeats. Everything has to be left behind quickly, because now we have a massive challenge in the shape of a derby against Atletico,” the Real Madrid coach said at a press conference.
“Just as we don’t stop when we win, we’ll not stop at defeats either. We have just enough time to prepare for the next match, which will be a special, a big challenge.”
Lopetegui added: “In a derby everything is important, it’s a match that has an emotional element and we have to go in to it prepared for everything.
“It’s not just another game, it’s a demanding game and the team will be ready.”
Atletico will have enjoyed an additional day’s recovery following their midweek 3-0 victory over Huesca.
Lopetegui, though, will not be claiming fatigue as an issue, with his squad then set for a Champions League trip to CSKA Moscow.
“I don’t take in to account the day less. Our motivation and desire are more important than that,” he said.
“The team is fine. We have a match every three days and, logically, we have had to respond.”
The Real Madrid coach added: “The reality is that the team is motivated and keen to win LaLiga and is very well set up to do so.
“There’s a long way to go, but we’re candidates for the title. It’ll be a tough and a long season for everyone.”
Real Madrid offered no timeframe on Marcelo’s expected return.
A club statement on Friday read: “After the tests carried out today by the Real Madrid Sanitas Medical Services on our player Marcelo, he has been diagnosed with a muscle injury in the soleus of his right leg. His recovery will continue to be assessed.”
Atletico coach Diego Simeone, meanwhile, is not expecting anything other than a fiercely contested derby, no matter what form of either side.
“I don’t evaluate an opponent based on the last game that they played,” said Simeone, whose team trail the leaders by just two points and beat their rivals 4-2 in the UEFA Super Cup at the start of the season.
“I value them for their characteristics and potential. We know we’re going to face one of the best teams in the world.”
Simeone added at a press conference: “It will be a tough match, like all the games we play against Madrid and we will have to seize control of it.”