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Real Madrid CF coach Carlos Queiroz has promised his side will not ease up against Olympique de Marseille despite having qualified for the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League with two games to spare.
The Spanish champions guaranteed their progression with a goalless draw at FK Partizan on Matchday 4, but Queiroz believes his side are sufficiently motivated to repeat their 4-2 opening-day success at home against the French side at the Stade Vélodrome.
'Responsibility to perform'
"We may have already qualified for the next round, but we have a responsibility to perform to our maximum,” said the Madrid coach. "We have come here to do justice to the prestige of a club of the size of Real Madrid. We are determined to finish first in the group and we have to perform sufficiently well to ensure we achieve that objective.
"We are all highly motivated and we will try and do the same in Marseille as we did against them in the [Santiago] Bernabéu," Queiroz continued. "
It's true we have qualified, but we haven't fulfilled all our objectives - we want to finish first and the sooner we do that the better."
Porto in front
Marseille are in third place in the section with three points from their four games, four adrift of second-placed FC Porto, and coach Alain Perrin admits his side have a sizeable task in front of them if they are to overhaul the Portuguese champions.
'Strike like a cobra'
Real are a bit like a cobra that dances in front of you and then strikes out at you suddenly," Perrin said. "We need a lot of lucidity, intelligence, technical quality and lots of luck. I don't know yet if we are lucky."
'A win would be a coup'
However, the Marseille coach believes his side might benefit from low expectations against Madrid, saying: "It is a comfort to play a match of this calibre at home and be cast in the role of challenger. Pressure is not on our shoulders and we can only pull off something of a coup."
Brahim Hemdani agreed that Madrid represented a monumental challenge. "It's true that a victory will be something of an exploit but we have to believe it," said the midfield player. "We know there is quality difference ahead of us but I can assure you we have desire to beat them. After all they are eleven men and so we are. We have to combat their superiority with solidarity and team spirit."
The match promises to be an emotional occasion for Madrid's Zinedine Zidane, who was brought up in Marseille. "For me, playing here is like coming home," said the French international. "When I was growing up in Marseille, I spent so much time at the stadium watching the team and it was there that I saw so many of my idols play. Whether I am here with France or Madrid, I try to give my best and to entertain the fans."
'No words to describe him'
Queiroz also had praise for Zidane, saying: "The best way of describing him is to say there are no words to describe his splendour and the way he plays football."
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