Pellegrino: Leganes wary of a dangerous Real Madrid response

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - MARCH 10: Mauricio Pellegrino, Manager of Southampton looks on prior to the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Southampton at St. James Park on March 10, 2018 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

CD Leganes coach Mauricio Pellegrino is refusing to read too much into Real Madrid’s current struggles heading into tonight’s Copa del Rey clash

Los Pepineros arrive at the Santiago Bernabeu for the first leg of their last-16 tie hoping to repeat the heroics of last season, where they memorably knocked Real out of the quarter-final stage 3-1 on aggregate.

Following the loss of manager Zinedine Zidane and star man Cristiano Ronaldo, Real have struggled greatly and find themselves only fifth in La Liga following Sunday’s shock 2-0 home defeat to Real Sociedad.

But Pellegrino believes that Los Blancos’ current struggles could actually make them an even bigger threat for Leganes.

“What the opponent will do has to do with what we will do, regardless of how Real Madrid are doing,” said Pellegrino on the club website.

“A team at a bad time can be more dangerous. That’s why I don’t give my prediction, we just prepare the match against a team that want to improve its situation. Everything will depend on what we do and our performance on the pitch.

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“Luckily football has something wonderful, not always those who have more budget or quality are the ones who win. We want to leave the play-off open for the game at home.

“My great illusion is to play better away from home. On the other hand, history never plays, it was another moment, another coach. I haven’t given Leganés much at the moment, but I hope to make people happy.

“I think we have players to face this play-off with confidence. It’s difficult to play on Wednesday and Saturday.

“Obviously that doesn’t help us, some players will have to repeat efforts. We have an important match on Wednesday and we’ll be ready for Saturday.”

Real Madrid and Leganes will kick-off their Copa del Rey match at 21:30 (CET).