Karanka refutes Euro draw claims
By Football News
Real Madrid assistant coach Aitor Karanka dismissed suggestions the Spanish side were given an easy draw in the Champions League semi-final.
Madrid will face Bundesliga outfit Borussia Dortmund for a place in the competition showpiece at Wembley in May, where they could meet arch-rivals Barcelona.
Some sections of the media claim Madrid received a favourable draw, having avoided Barcelona and newly-crowned German champions Bayern Munich.
But Karanka does not believe that is the case, pointing to the club's quarter-final encounter against Galatasaray.
"Well, we have the experience that we have picked up in the last four weeks, from when we have started to talk about the difficulty of Galatasaray," he told reporters.
"People said that could it be easy, and we saw in the second leg that it wasn't. Now we are in the semis with the strongest teams and Dortmund it is a team that we couldn't beat earlier this year.
"If we think that it is going to be easy and that we are already into the final, it's completely wrong."
Madrid will contest their second semi-final in three seasons and the one-time Spanish international puts the club's success down to their ability to ignore what is said in the media.
"I think the key to our success of reaching the semis three times is that we are always honest with ourselves, and another one is that we don't look in to what the media has said," he added.
"We just to do our work, always take the best players for every game, and play that games hard even if we are playing in the first games of Copa del Rey against a small teams, or into the semi-finals of the Champions League.
"We play with the same spirit and the players know that they have to be at 100% and you can see that in the results."
Before their first leg meeting with Dortmund on April 24, Madrid travel to Athletic Bilbao in La Liga action on Saturday, looking to keep hold of second place in the table.
"San Mames is always a very difficult pitch to play on but also a beautiful place to play, even more now as it will be the last time we do," said Karanka, who made more than 150 appearances for Bilbao during his professional playing career.
"I think the player's unavailable players for Athletic are key players. We will see if Fernando Llorente plays.
"We are not going to discover him, like World Cup Champion, or like player he is, and also all the games we play in Bilbao are very specials."