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García Remón used to pressure

Published: Tuesday 28 September 2004, 15.57CET
Real Madrid CF coach Mariano García Remón tells he is on familiar territory as AS Roma visit.

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Published: Tuesday 28 September 2004, 15.57CET

García Remón used to pressure

Real Madrid CF coach Mariano García Remón tells he is on familiar territory as AS Roma visit.

By Andy Hall in Madrid

Mariano García Remón has told that he is on familiar territory as he prepares to lead Real Madrid CF for the first time in the UEFA Champions League.

Opening defeats
Madrid began their Group B campaign with a 3-0 defeat by Bayer 04 Leverkusen - and last week coach José Antonio Camacho resigned. García Remón stepped into the breach, and will be at the helm when similarly troubled AS Roma visit the Santiago Bernabéu having forfeited their opener 3-0 to FC Dynamo Kyiv after the tie at the Stadio Olimpico was abandoned.

'Nothing new'
García Remón saw his team lose 2-1 at Athletic Club Bilbao on Saturday, but with 17 years' experience as a goalkeeper for Madrid, he is used to high-pressure European occasions. "I been through plenty of games like this - crucial make-or-break games," he told "So matches like this are nothing new to me. The key to clawing our way out of this situation is regaining our confidence."

Solari out
He added: "Over the past few months the players' heads have dropped and they have to lift themselves. Once the confidence returns we will begin to see the real Real Madrid again." García Remón is without midfield player Santiago Solari, who has a knee injury, and David Beckham is doubtful with flu. But Zinedine Zidane and Michael Owen could both return, with the coach insisting his side will need to be at the top of their game.

'Like a final'
"The players are fully aware of what is going on," he said. "I have given them my thoughts on the situation and they have been well received by everyone. If we fail to win this tie then it is going to be much harder for us to continue in this competition - we will lose any kind of advantage for the forthcoming matches. There is no tougher game for Madrid right now, this is like a final for us and we have to win whatever happens."

Helguera positive
Madrid midfielder Iván Helguera echoed those sentiments. "The only thing we are worried about is us - hopefully we can put in a good performance and come out of this so-called crisis," he said. "We have not been as strong in attack, and that is worrying, but it is too early to start analysing our start to the season. We have been through worse times than this."

Völler quits
Roma have troubles of their own - quite apart from the incidents a fortnight ago that led to the Dynamo tie being called off. After the Italian club lost coach Fabio Capello to Juventus FC in May, and then saw replacement Cesare Prandelli stand down for family reasons, Rudi Völler took over on 31 August only to resign on Saturday after a 3-1 defeat by Bologna FC.

Sella challenge
Ezio Sella has stepped into the hot-seat temporarily, but is without defender Philippe Mexes, sent off against Dynamo, while Christian Panucci and Cristian Chivu are injury doubts. Nonetheless, the caretaker coach is relishing the challenge.

'Delicate moment'
He said: "We will be meeting rivals who, like us, have been wounded and who are keen to get a result that will lift them out of the mire. But this represents a challenge for me. It is a delicate moment - as with Madrid, our future is at stake - but the only thing on my mind is the match and making sure my players play a great game."

Last updated: 28/09/04 17.24CET