Sat, Jan 26, 2008 - Page 18 News List

LFP: Van Nistelrooy warns Real against complacency

AFP , MADRID

Some people are already saying Real Madrid have the Spanish league wrapped up after just 20 games, but Dutch striker Ruud van Nistelrooy warned his teammates not to get too complacent ahead of tomorrow's match with Villarreal.

"There are still 18 games left and we can not start thinking we have the league won," van Nistelrooy said. "We have not won anything yet and just need to keep on working hard until we achieve our target."

Seven straight wins, including a 2-0 derby win over Atletico last weekend, and a league record points return of 50 from 20 matches give Real reason to be confident when they host Villarreal tomorrow with a seven-point cushion over Barcelona.

Barcelona travel to Athletic Bilbao tomorrow.

With Argentine inspiration Lionel Messi now back from injury Barcelona are hopeful of reeling in Real but remain under constant pressure to win every match.

"I don't like looking at the other teams because we have to win our matches," coach Frank Rijkaard said.

With Ronaldinho failing to shine another Brazilian has taken the limelight this season. Striker Luis Fabiano has bagged 13 goals for Sevilla.

Fabiano is joint top-scorer in the league with Real Zaragoza's Diego Milito and has been strongly linked with a move to English side Manchester City.

Sevilla, a disappointing ninth, host Osasuna in today's late match and must be careful as Real Murcia, third from bottom, are just four points worse off.

"We should be ashamed of how we have been playing," Fabiano said.

After the demoralizing derby defeat to Real, Atletico need to regroup when they travel to Real Mallorca tomorrow.

"We have said all along that we want to be in the top four and fighting for a cup and that is where we are at now," upbeat captain Maxi Rodriguez said.

Atletico are a point ahead of fifth-placed Espanyol, who entertain Real Betis tomorrow.

Espanyol have lost captain and top-scorer Raul Tamudo for two months with a broken arm leaving them short of firepower.

Elsewhere, Valencia are clinging to hopes of European qualification heading into tomorrow's home match with Almeria.

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