Varane: Madrid can’t give up in La Liga

Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane wants the team to put in a shift in La Liga despite giving up hope of catching leaders Barcelona.

Tuesday’s 1-0 defeat to Espanyol, thanks to a 93rd-minute strike from Gerard Moreno, leaves Madrid 14 points adrift in the standings, having played a game more than Barca.

“We performed better in the first half than we did in the second,” Varane said. “We always have to give our best when we pull this shirt on.

“We can’t give up on La Liga; we have to show the same drive. We’re not looking at the points, we have to focus on the games and try to win them because that’s what this badge demands of us. You can never write us off.

“We always want to win and this won’t have any effect on the PSG game. Regardless of whether Neymar plays or not, it’ll be tough because they’ll come out all guns blazing. We’re ready for it and will continue with our preparations.”

Another Madrid defender, Nacho Fernandez, also gave his take on the loss at the RCDE Stadium on the outskirts of Barcelona.

“I don’t think that we deserved to lose, but it wasn’t one of our best performances,” Nacho said. “We did well in the first half and were disciplined, but in the second half our performance levels dropped off and we weren’t as dominant. 

“It’s not normal. We’re used to winning titles. We’re still involved in a special competition, in the Champions League, and have to prepare for it and go into it full of confidence.”