Monday January 21 2013
‘Di Maria struggles psychological’

Aitor Karanka praised Angel Di Maria for his return to form this weekend and reflected that his recent struggles were more psychological than physical.

The Argentine winger provided two goals and an assist for Madrid in a convincing 5-0 win away to Valencia on Sunday evening.

“It is true that if you look at the Di Maria that played in Pamplona, the other day for a while, and the one that played today you realise that there is no issue physically. It is psychological,” reflected his assistant Coach afterwards, in relation to his recent struggles for consistency and game-time.

“We all know him from the two and half years that he has been with us. He has not been on his best form recently and today we saw the Di Maria that we all know and we all want to see.”

Madrid will be back at Mestalla on Wednesday for the second leg of their Copa del Rey quarter-final.

“That will be a totally different match. There is the result of the previous match and the fans will be even more behind their team after today.

“We have to stick with the way we played on Tuesday at the Bernabeu and even more so with how we did today.

“During the season, Mourinho has explained several times that we are trying to improve. Everything we do is to improve and it seems that we are on a good line. In Valencia we showed what we can do.

 “We have to keep improving and with the confidence and the desire to repeat what was achieved last year. The matches will be different.

 “The title race? This club will never throw in the towel whilst there are points up for a grabs and there is still the possibility of winning.

“We have to win, not just to try to win the league but to pull away from the teams below us and for us to see our improvement.

“The officials? Today, Real Madrid have played and I do not think that we need to talk about anything else.”

Karanka was also asked for a word on Iker Casillas’ four consecutive clean sheets in all competitions.

“There has never been a debate. Whenever a big player is not playing there is a debate. When Cristiano did not play, when Sergio Ramos did not play...

“Whenever we put out an XI it is done for the good of the team and we try to win every match.”

Football Italia website