Real Madrid will not underestimate anybody, says Santiago Solari ahead of Kashima Antlers game
ABU DHABI: Real Madrid manager Santiago Solari said he will not be underestimating anyone in the FIFA Club World Cup as he gets his team ready to face Kashima Antlers in today’s semifinal.
Speaking in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, Solari said: “You are not playing poor teams (here).
“We have more confederations playing (now), and it’s a more beautiful tournament, this is a tournament I like it a lot.
“You are playing around the world, you have to get used to the change in climate and time, but so does everyone else. I have followed this tournament for a long time, there is no way I will underestimate any team.”
And the Argentine was full of praise for Real’s Japanese opponents and the threats they pose his team, having run Los Blancos close in 2016’s final.
“If you are here, you deserve to be here. Kashima are a lot more experienced than two years ago, they are continental champions.
“They play direct football, they have fast strikers. It is going to be a beautiful match.”
Real defender Marcelo was also in a confident mood ahead of the game.
“We are here because we have won many titles, and we are hungry to win even more, that is what motivates us as a group, wearing the Real Madrid shirt is motivation in itself,” he said.
“It is not about individuals, we don’t think like that at Real Madrid.
“We are friends in and out of the team and we want to win together, we are happy to play in this tournament, which is important enough,” the Brazilian added.
Meanwhile, Kashima boss Go Oiwa said his team will be up against it against a strong Madrid side, even without Cristiano Ronaldo in their ranks — the Portuguese superstar scored a hat-trick in the 2016 final.
“With or without Ronaldo, Real are very strong, they will be as strong as they were two years ago. They have many players in attack that we have to pay attention to.
“I cannot really measure how much of a loss Ronaldo is to (them), we just have to work hard not to concede any goals,” he said.
“I don’t know if we are any closer to winning that we were two years ago, but we will do our best and play until the end.
“We are representing Japan, we are representing Asia, it is about fighting as a group and doing everything together as a group,” he added.