Mikel Labaka has praised his Rayo Vallecano teammates for matching Real Madrid yesterday and hopes that they can maintain their performance levels.
Rayo actually lost Monday evening’s rearranged fixture against Los Blancos 2-0, but Labaka followed up his President and Coach’s assertion that the minnows more than matched their opponents for performance.
“In playing against Real Madrid you can hope to win, but we know that these games are very difficult to get anything out of and I have valued the effort of the team,” he told reporters today.
“Despite the loss we must try to take a positive conclusion, even if we are never happy to lose.
“Maybe it took a while for us to get into the game, but then the team played with great intensity. Madrid was uncomfortable in the field, we had a chance but could not score.
“We know how these games give you minimum chances in front of goal and that if you miss the few opportunities that come then it is significant.”
Rayo are now preparing for next weekend, when they will travel to Real Valladolid on the Sunday afternoon.
“I think the team had a lot of intensity, was very involved against Real Madrid and it is a momentum that we can follow up on.
“Every game is different and we have to think now about Valladolid, a team that if you let them play, have good players who can beat you. The key is to play hard and not to let them feel comfortable.”
Labaka was reintroduced into the line-up yesterday for his first start under Paco Jemez.
“We all want to play, of course, and every day you train with that ambition. When you are left out you do not like it, but this is a team sport and we have to be prepared for everything.
“The League is long and we have the options for three or four-man defences. Rather than the system, what matters is the intensity and togetherness.”