. Speaking ahead of the Madrid derby, Real Madrid manager Rafael Benitez claimed that his team was statistically in a good position while dismissing suggestions that last seasona s 4-0 defeat would have an effect on his team.

The Spaniard will be hoping for a strong performance against their city rivals as he welcomes Gareth Bale and Sergio Ramos back into the squad.

Statistics suggest that the team is performing well

As reported by AS, the manager said that he was expecting a passionate encounter, one that would test the character of the two teams. Benitez also claimed that his team was statistically in a strong position ahead of the match.

a I see the team playing well, of course there is always room for improvement but the statistics suggest that the team is performing well. Wea re well aware of what we need to do tomorrow but it depends on how the game unfolds.a

Atletico Madrid come into the fixture following two successive defeats but Rafael Benitez believes that Diego Simeonea s men will be motivated for the derby fixture.

a My opinion on Atleti hasna t changed due to their recent results. This is a derby game. They are a team of great quality and it will be difficult. With this backdrop, the message that Ia m trying to transmit to my players is that this is no easy match. Look what happened against MA?laga.a

"The fact that we can have this Toni or Kovacic debate is good for me."

“The fact that we can have this Toni or Kovacic debate is good for me.”

Real Madrid lost the same fixture 4-0 last season and Rafael Benitez will be keen to avoid a poor showing in what will be his first test since taking over the reins from Carlo Ancelotti.

a Each season and each team is different. Wea re developing well and what happened before has no bearing on this gamea .

While James Rodriguez and Pepe remain sidelined, Real Madrid would welcome the return of Gareth Bale and Sergio Ramos ahead of the crucial fixture.