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'Real have more suitors than Julia Roberts'

Champions League, Real Madrid (2) v Ajax (1), BT Sport/Virgin (Ko 8.0)

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REAL TALK: Santiago Solari. Photo: REUTERS/Sergio Perez

REAL TALK: Santiago Solari. Photo: REUTERS/Sergio Perez

REUTERS

REAL TALK: Santiago Solari. Photo: REUTERS/Sergio Perez

Real Madrid boss Santiago Solari insists he is not fazed by the latest speculation linking Jose Mourinho with his job, describing the club as having "more suitors than Julia Roberts".

Mourinho, sacked by Manchester United in December, has been linked with a return to the club he managed between 2010 and 2013.

The pressure has increased on Solari ahead tonight's Champions League clash at home to Ajax after back-to-back defeats by Barcelona.

Two high-profile losses in the space of four days saw Real crash out of the Copa Del Rey and fall 12 points behind their fierce rivals in the LaLiga standings.

The winners of the Champions League for the past three years have now lost three home games in a row for the first time in 15 years, but welcome Ajax to the Bernabeu with a 2-1 first-leg advantage as they look to progress to the last eight.

On the Mourinho speculation, Solari said at a press conference: "This club has always had more suitors than Julia Roberts, it's quite normal."

Despite their poor run, midfielder Luka Modric insists the squad remain in high spirits and will not suffer a hangover when they take on the Eredivisie outfit.

"For us a Champions League match is always very important and especially tomorrow's game against a very good team who are young and ambitious," he said.

"Losing two games against your biggest rival is not something that makes you feel good. We're hurt, but the important thing is that tomorrow's game comes very soon and there is no time to dwell on it.

"We have to focus on the Champions League and try to forget what happened and put in a good performance, try to win. We're ready.

"We've worked well these last two days. In the games against Barca, especially in the cup, we did badly and that's why I think we have to continue and trust that the goals will come. We're in good spirits even though we have lost these two games."

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Luka Modric insists the squad remain in high spirits. Photo: Getty Images

Luka Modric insists the squad remain in high spirits. Photo: Getty Images

Getty Images

Luka Modric insists the squad remain in high spirits. Photo: Getty Images

Real will be without captain Sergio Ramos, who has been suspended for two matches after being found guilty of deliberately getting himself booked in the first leg.

His absence is one area four-time winners Ajax could look to exploit as they aim to reach the last eight for the first time since 2003.

Coach Erik Ten Hag said: "Sergio Ramos is suspended. I think he is the boss on the pitch and in the back line. Him being absent is not only a tactical loss for them but also a mental one.

"Our goal for tomorrow is clear and is the same for every game - scoring goals. This is Ajax, and we don't care about who we play, our intention will always be the same - dominate, score goals and win."


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