Gareth Bale in training with Real Madrid in build-up to title showdown with Barcelona

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Real desperate to beat their clasico rivals

Gareth Bale (L) and Karim Benzema (R) at training

Real Madrid coach, Zinedine Zidane attends the team's training session at Valdebebas sport city. All pictures EPA

Gareth Bale in training ahead og the clasico n Sunday.

Real Madrid's players James Rodriguez (front), Gareth Bale, Marcelo, Luka Jovic, Raphael Varane and Ferland Mendy

Real's Marcelo during the session.

Zinedine Zidane watches the session.

Real Madrid players during a training session at Valdebebas sport city

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Dominic Hart

Feb 29, 2020

February 29, 2020

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In Real Madrid's first 34 matches this season, the team lost only three times.

In the last three games, however, they have been beaten twice and held to a home draw — the club's worst run of the season and coming just before Sunday's clasico against Barcelona at the Bernabeu.

“I see Sunday's game as an opportunity for us to change our fortunes around,” Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said. “It's a bad moment for us, I agree, but on Sunday we have a great chance to change that."

Their latest setback was a 2-1 loss to Manchester City on Wednesday in the first leg of the last 16 in the Champions League. Before that, Real had been beaten by Levante and held by relegation-threatened Celta Vigo to a draw that dropped the team behind Barcelona at the top of the Spanish league standings.

Real, who staged their final training session on Saturday before Sunday's match, also went three games without a win in December, but that run included away draws in difficult matches against Valencia and Barcelona, in addition to a home draw against Athletic Bilbao.

“During three or four months we did things really well and had good results,” Zidane said. “Now in the last three matches we had a draw and two losses, that's tough for us. We have to be more united than ever, stronger than ever, and keep working hard to change this dynamic, and on Sunday we have a good chance to do it.”

The Frenchman dismissed the notion that fans have lost confidence in the club because of the recent results, especially the setbacks at home. The loss to Man City was just the latest decisive match the team failed to win at the Bernabéu. In the Champions League, Madrid have won only three of their last 10 European matches at the stadium.

“We need the fans to keep their trust in us and come back here on Sunday to support us,” Zidane said. “We gave everything we had in these last few games and played well despite the bad results. We can't control everything in soccer.”

Updated: February 29, 2020 04:49 PM

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