Real Madrid not underestimating anybody, says Santiago Solari ahead of Kashima Antlers game

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. (AFP)
Updated 18 December 2018
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Real Madrid not underestimating anybody, says Santiago Solari ahead of Kashima Antlers game

  • Argentine was full of praise for Real’s Japanese opponents and the threats they pose his team
  • Kashima boss Go Oiwa said his team will be up against it against a strong Madrid side

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 than 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.


Naomi Osaka not worried about form after shock Dubai defeat

Updated 22 min 17 sec ago
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Naomi Osaka not worried about form after shock Dubai defeat

  • World No. 1 easily beaten but claims all is well with her game.
  • Osaka surprisingly split with coach in run up to Dubai tournament.

LONDON: Naomi Osaka said she is not worried after the world No. 1 was shocked in the second round at the Dubai Tennis Championships.
The two-time Grand Slam champion was convincingly beaten 6-3, 6-3 by Kristina Mladenovic in her first match since she memorably won the Australian Open last month — her second consecutive Slam success.
Heading into the clash there was much talk about her lack of action on court and her split with coach Sascha Bajin. She said there was nothing to the split with Bajin other than “happiness was more important than success.”
And having been easily beaten by the Dubai-based Frenchwomen Osaka said she was not troubled by her form.
“The Australian Open was not even a month ago,” Osaka said.
“I mean, this was just one match. I feel like even if I don’t win any matches for the rest of the year, I wouldn’t say I’m concerned.
“I think I’m pretty young. I still feel like I have a lot to learn.”
The Japanese star, who became the first Asian woman to reach the summit of the rankings, added that the shock defeat might actually work in her favor.
“For me, that’s sort of my biggest thing after this match. I think I play well after I lose a sort of bad match,” the 21-year-old said.
“I’m just looking forward to the next tournament.
“Before US Open (which she won), I lost those three matches in a row. I was just thinking, like, ‘wow, am I ever going to do anything in my life?’”