Mijatovic: Madrid will attack Barca

Predrag Mijatovic says a draw would be a good result for Real Madrid in the Clasico against Barcelona but expects the league leaders to play for the win.


Mijatovic, a striker who spent four years at the Bernabeu in the 1990s before becoming director of football between 2006 and 2009, stopped in to chat with Eurosport and field questions from readers, focusing on Saturday’s potential title-decider at Camp Nou.

Madrid were humbled in a 5-0 defeat in Catalunya last season but Mijatovic expects his former side to show attacking initiative in the latest instalment of one of sport's most high-profile rivalries.

“I think that Madrid are capable of playing a great match and having a four-point advantage,” he said. Real currently lead Barcelona by that margin with five games remaining in La Liga.

“A draw is a good result, although I have no doubt that Real Madrid will go out to win.”

“It will be a crucial game,” Mijatovic added. “But I think Real have an important advantage, and if someone had offered them this lead at this stage of the season they would have taken it.

“The game itself will be complicated and difficult, but a draw will be enough.”

In a wide-ranging question-and-answer session, Mijatovic also stated Madrid would not be fazed by falling behind in their Champions League semi-final against Bayern Munich.

Jose Mourinho's side lost 2-1 in Germany, but he is optimistic about the return leg.

“A Champions League match is different from league matches,” Mijatovic explained. “Here errors or over-ambition can cost you greatly - 2-1 remains a decent result for the game because with a 1-0 win [in Madrid] they’re qualified.”

The former Yugoslavia and Serbia & Montenegro international defended maligned defender Pepe, suggesting the Portuguese star was not violent.

“He’s a great player who sometimes makes mistakes, like anyone else,” Mijatovic explained. “He’s the key player for Real’s defence and hopefully he will continue for many years here.”

Mijatovic also picked out German duo Mesut Ozil and Sami Khedira for particular praise.

“[Ozil] has a lot of footballing talent in those boots and is doing well. I’d like to see him get 90 minutes in a crunch game – he has talent and will progress.

“[Khedira] is the archetypal midfielder that everyone would want to have. He is not attractive to football purists, but he’s so useful for any coach, and would be a starting player in any team.”

The former Madrid man reserved his biggest compliment for current manager Mourinho.

“Mourinho is a great coach, with titles in all the clubs where he has worked – something which is difficult.

“He’s done a great job at Madrid and this year things are better than last year. Countering a team like Barcelona is complicated, but everything he has done towards that makes sense.

“I hope he stays for many years. He is a born winner.

And finally, Mijatovic also claimed that Mourinho’s star player Cristiano Ronaldo was a better player than Barcelona’s feted Lionel Messi.

“They’re very different,” the 43-year-old conceded, “but as a Madridista I would favour Cristiano because I have a soft spot for the player and he’s doing so well.

“Messi is doing some wonderful things, but the little advantage for me goes to Cristiano because he plays on my team and he’s a good kid.”

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