Real Madrid were well beaten in the previous El Clasico, going down 3-1 against Barcelona in Riyadh in the final of the Spanish Supercup. Despite that precedent the general feeling, and the feeling of Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti, is that it will be a different tie on Thursday.
The two face each other in the first leg of the Copa del Rey semi-final at the Santiago Bernabeu, with both sides suffering from crucial injuries.
In terms of the game, Ancelotti feels that Real Madrid can fix where they went wrong last season.
“We have evaluated everything. In the Super Cup we lacked commitment and forcefulness, with individual mistakes that will not be repeated. We are close to winning an important competition and we are going to compete. It’s not the decisive game, but we want to gain an advantage.”
Real Madrid were also missing David Alaba then, but Ferland Mendy is likely to be replaced by Nacho Fernandez. The significant difference is that Los Blancos look considerably mmore fit than in January, whereas they were suffocated by Barcelona’s press in Saudi Arabia. Equally there was a certain sense of fatigue against Atletico Madrid on Saturday, although Ancelotti did rotate players.