Real Madrid CF coach José Mourinho has warned his Spanish Liga leaders that their achievements so far this season hold little significance ahead of Saturday's visit of FC Barcelona.
Since witnessing his side stutter in September with a 1-0 loss at Levante UD and a goalless draw at Real Racing Club, Mourinho has steered the Merengues to 15 successive victories in all competitions, equalling a club record set in 1960/61. The only team to emerge with a 100% record from the UEFA Champions League group stage, Madrid are also the top scorers in the Liga, having registered 49 goals in 14 fixtures.
Despite his charges being three points clear of Barcelona at the summit with a game in hand, Mourinho is not one to rest on his laurels going into the opening Clásico of the campaign. "What's happened until now doesn't matter, what matters is what will occur during these 90 minutes," said the 48-year-old, before this 163rd Liga meeting of the sides.
"At this moment we have more confidence, are more compact and are a better team than last year. We are playing well and winning games but every game has its own story."
Taking charge of his eighth Madrid-Barça match, Mourinho will hope the narrative of this particular encounter does not reflect his past experiences; the Portuguese has won just once with the capital club against the Azulgrana – in extra time of last term's Copa del Rey final. "This represents one game more for us and one we will prepare for, that's how life normally is for us," he said.
One more appearance for Xavi Hernández, meanwhile, will be the midfielder's 600th in a Barcelona shirt and the Spanish international says that marking the occasion with a victory at the Santiago Bernabéu would be "a wonderful thing".
"I expect an open and evenly balanced game in which you will see the potential of both teams; it could be quite physical," the 31-year-old said. "These matches have nothing to do with league standings or form, because anything can happen. If we can impose our philosophy on the game we'll be on the right path. It's always fantastic to win in the Bernabéu, especially in the Liga. Looking at the league table, winning would also be a turning point for us."
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