Jean Fernandez hoped Real Madrid CF would not prove to be "too much" for AJ Auxerre to handle at the Santiago Bernabéu as his side bid to continue their adventure in the UEFA Europa League.
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Bruised but enriched by their experiences in UEFA Champions League Group G, AJ Auxerre will bid to pick up a point or more in their final game at Real Madrid CF and hope it is enough to move them above AFC Ajax and into the UEFA Europa League round of 32. Auxerre coach Jean Fernandez said his side were coming to the Santiago Bernabéu "with humility". Speaking in the stead of suspended José Mourinho, assistant coach Aitor Karanka said Madrid would be treating the game like any other, despite already wrapping up top spot in the section.
Jean Fernandez, Auxerre coach
We haven't won many matches but we have always believed in ourselves. It is very important to play our best, understanding that we are up against one of the best teams in Europe. We are coming here with humility; Real Madrid have no weaknesses. FC Barcelona and Real Madrid are the strongest teams in Europe, and their 5-0 defeat at the Camp Nou is not going to change my opinion of Real. They play very fast and it could be too much for us.
We knew that this group was going to be very tough because the other three teams are stronger than us. It will be difficult, but we will try to get a point and hope to qualify for the Europa League. We have enjoyed the competition and playing at the Santiago Bernabéu is a big thrill for us.
Aitor Karanka, Madrid assistant coach
Real Madrid never play 'insignificant' games. We have the opportunity of qualifying for the next phase with the highest points total in our history. Playing in the shirt of this club one must always stand up and be counted. There are fans coming to the stadium to support us and to enjoy a game.
The team that will play will be a strong one as this is a Champions League game and we must rise to that level. The only player who will be rested for this encounter is Iker Casillas. In terms of Cristiano Ronaldo, he'd have to be half dead not to play; he's always keen. On a personal note, to be leading from the bench during a Champions League game is very special and I will try to enjoy it but I recognise I have a job to do. I've been learning and enjoying my time alongside our coach.
• Real Madrid
Sami Khedira (thigh), Ángel Di María (ingrowing toenail), Gonzalo Higuaín (back), Fernando Gago (knee), Gonzalo Higuaín (back), Sergio Canales (knee) and Kaká (knee) are all out of the reckoning, while Casillas will be rested. Youngsters Álvaro Morata and Pablo Sarabia may get the chance to impress.
Steeven Langil is fit despite having been set for knee surgery prior to Matchday 5, while Anthony Le Tallec is in the squad for the first time since sustaining an ankle injury in September. Delvin Ndinga (quadriceps), Alexandre Licata (ankle) and Cédric Hengbart (hamstring) are out until next year while Yaya Sanogo (broken tibia) and Ireneusz Jeleń (knee) have been sidelined since September. Jérémy Berthod has not played since picking up a calf problem last month.
04/12/10 Real Madrid 2-0 Valencia CF
(Ronaldo 73 87)
Cristiano Ronaldo took his tally to 21 goals in his last 17 games for club and country and earned Madrid their 13th successive home win in all competitions.
04/12/10 RC Lens 1-1 Auxerre
(Yahia 29; Mignot 87)
Jean-Pascal Mignot scored his second goal in three league games but Auxerre remain without a win in four games in all competitions.
Did you know?
When playing for Olympique Lyonnais, Madrid striker Karim Benzema struck 23 seconds into the title-clinching win at Auxerre on the final day of the 2007/08 Ligue 1 season.
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