Unai Emery said UD Almería's aim "is still to avoid relegation at the end of the season" after thrilling Spain with a 2-0 win against Real Madrid CF on Saturday.
The 36-year-old coach, in his first campaign in the Primera División after winning promotion with Almería last season, led his side to a fourth successive league win at the league leaders' expense, and helped to breathe life back into a Primera División campaign which had started to look like a one-horse race. Madrid are now just six points clear of second-placed FC Barcelona.
"Madrid are a great team who had their chances but we put lots of pressure on them," said Emery, after a goal from Juanito and an Álvaro Negredo penalty sealed a famous win. "Our run has been very good and we want it to last. We have to be ambitious and want to improve through being very demanding of ourselves, but our objective is still to avoid relegation at the end of the season."
Almería handed Madrid their first league defeat since they lost to Sevilla FC on 3 November – something which will have been a particular joy for their former Madrid reserve team players Negredo and Corona. Having signed experienced defenders Juanito Gutiérrez, Aitor López Rekarte and Rubén Pulido as well as Brazilian No1 Diego Alves in the summer, eighth-placed Almería are a solid side.
"I'm very happy to have gone without conceding a goal for four matches but we can't look any other way than towards our main objective because we could easily fall into a trap," explained the 24-year-old Alves, ignoring headlines like 'Almería eats Madrid' (Diario AS) or 'Almería thrashes the leaders' (Mundo Deportivo). "We can only think of avoiding relegation so we mustn't get carried away."
Madrid coach Bernd Schuster, meanwhile, remained sanguine, saying: "Losing is never good but the defeat comes at a good time because it will keep our feet on the ground. We can't relax because we haven't won the league yet." Sporting director Predrag Mijatović insisted "we have a right to lose games", but added ominously: "When the time comes to clench the title, we will."
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