Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho has played down the significance of their clash with Barcelona ahead of the eagerly anticipated showdown on Monday.
The two rivals meet at Camp Nou in the first derby clash of the season, and it will be Mourinho’s first as Madrid boss.
Madrid have been in fine form since his arrival at the Bernabeu in the summer and they currently top the Primera Division table after 15 wins and four draws in all competitions this season.
They lead Barcelona by one point but Mourinho has played down the importance of the game in the context of the overall campaign.
“Every game is important. Every point that you lose could be key at the end. But after tomorrow’s game there will be 25 matches left and there are a lot of points in play and so many factors,” he said.
“It’s an important game but not decisive. If we win, the following morning will be Tuesday, and if we lose, it will also be Tuesday.
“The world is waiting for this game and we have the responsibility to give the world the game they expect.
“These are two teams who could be the best, with top players and everything is in place for it to be a great game.
“I hope that the players help the referee and that it’s a game where they only talk of the football and nice things.”
He added: “I hope that if my team loses, it won’t change either their confidence or self esteem, and if they win they will continue with their feet on the ground. I will continue to be calm after the game whatever the result.
“We need to be aware that the season is played over 10 months at a very high level. I’m sure we will continue with calm, regardless of the result.
“Many times in Clasicos and derbies it isn’t the best team or the one ahead in the table who wins; these matches provide a different motivation, we can have 10 points more or 10 less, but in these games it’s very difficult to say who is better and who is favourite.”