Sat, Nov 03, 2007 - Page 19 News List

Real Madrid look to turn on style again in Seville

GOALS GALORE Bernd Schuster's side travel south, having silenced the critics who attacked some of their performances earlier in the season

AFP , MADRID

Spanish league leaders Real Madrid will be looking to maintain the style that took them to a 5-1 mid-week win at Valencia when they visit Sevilla today.

"Last season, we were sometimes lucky to win but this season we are winning because of the quality of our play. However, don't expect us to score five goals every time we go away," Real striker Ruud van Nistelrooy said on Thursday.

However, the stunning victory at Valencia means that Real have now twice put five goals past opponents away from home in the league, a feat never before achieved in the Spanish giants' history.

"And we can still improve despite the fact that there were moments against Valencia when I don't think we could play any better," Real coach Bernd Schuster said.

"However, I'm not going to get carried away. Sevilla is coming up and they are a difficult team but we are moving the ball around much better [than in recent games]," the German coach said.

In addition to Real having silenced their critics after some less stellar performances recently, Schuster will also have been pleased to get the news that his central defender Pepe has been given the green light to return.

The Brazilian-born player has been out for six weeks with a thigh injury but could be drafted in immediately to start if Schuster carries on his policy of rotating his back four.

Sevilla look to have quickly put behind them the shock departure of coach Juande Ramos last week.

The former international defender Manolo Jimenez has taken over at the helm and quickly made his presence felt.

In his first game in charge last Sunday, Jimenez guided his men to a 3-0 win over Valencia and Sevilla were unlucky to end up just on the losing side in the 4-3 thriller at Atletico Madrid on Wednesday.

"Defensively we were weak against Atletico. We will have to toughen up against Real," Jimenez said.

Helping add some steel should be Sevilla's Serbian left back Ivica Dragutinovic, who missed the match against Atletico because of 'flu.

Jimenez is also expected to recall his prolific Malian international Fredi Kanoute, who has scored five goals this season but was rested for the trip to Atletico.

Kanoute, who scored along with Ernesto Chevanton in Sevilla's 2-1 win over Real in the same fixture last season, should partner the in-form Brazilian striker Luis Fabiano, who has scored six goals in Sevilla's last four games.

Real, with 25 points from 10 games, have a four point lead over their eternal rivals Barcelona, who could only draw 1-1 at struggling Valladolid on Thursday and will be looking to do better against Real Betis tomorrow.

Both Barca and third-placed Villarreal have 21 points and are only split by goal difference.

Villarreal have been this season's surprise package and they are optimistic that their good run can continue at fourth-placed Atletico Madrid today.

"If we play how we did against Levante [who they beat 3-0 on Wednesday], with the same confidence and at the same speed, then I'm sure we'll make life difficult for them," said Villarreal's Pascal Cygen on Thursday.

"But we know that they are dangerous, they are very difficult to defend against," the French defender said.

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