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Mourinho wants Real improvement

Jose Mourinho is looking for Real Madrid to bounce back from their Champions League defeat
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Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho is hoping his side's Champions League defeat by Borussia Dortmund will not put the brakes on their domestic revival.

Madrid were beaten by the German champions on Wednesday, dropping their first points of the group stages, but remain on course to qualify for the last 16.

They return to action in the Primera Division on Sunday with a trip to Real Mallorca, where they will hope to make it four wins from five league games following their dreadful start to the season.

The reigning champions managed only four points from the opening four games but since then only Barcelona have taken points off Mourinho's side, with a 2-2 draw at the Nou Camp earlier this month.

The Madrid boss said: "We are not used to having so many defeats at the start of season but we need to take a look at the matches. Dortmund played more tightly than we did.

"We have matches in league and cup coming up and we need to go and win those."

Mourinho was given more injury concerns last night after Sami Khedira hobbled off with a thigh problem to join Marcelo, Fabio Coentrao and Alvaro Arbeloa on the sidelines.

Mallorca sit three points and four places below Madrid in eighth place and will aim to bounce back after last weekend's narrow defeat by Sevilla.

Barcelona continue to lead the way, with their draw against their great rivals the only points Tito Vilanova's side have dropped so far this season.

They remain eight points ahead of Madrid and can extend that to 11, for 24 hours at least, when they travel to Rayo Vallecano on Saturday.


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Full-back Dani Alves should be available after injury but Vilanova will be fervently hoping the club win their second appeal against Javier Mascherano's red card.

The Argentinian was dismissed for two yellow cards in last weekend's remarkable 5-4 victory over Deportivo La Coruna, and a first appeal against a one-match ban was turned down, but Barca have tried again.

If Mascherano is not available, Vilanova will have a defensive headache with Gerard Pique and Carles Puyol both unlikely to be fit.

Pique has missed Barcelona's last seven matches after sustaining a foot injury on Champions League duty but revealed he is making good progress.

The 25-year-old told a Google+ Hangout session with fans: "I'm feeling good, much better. I did everything I could to play against Madrid but in the end we decided to not run any risks. When my foot responds well, I'll start to train."

Pique also praised the performances of his team-mates in his absence, saying: "We've had a great start. We've won a lot of games and we're currently leaders. It's true that a couple of our matches have been tough, but the team is playing well."

Although Barca are well clear of Real Madrid, they still have a team from the capital hot on their heels, with Atletico also having dropped only two points.

The key to their performances has undoubtedly been the form of star striker Radamel Falcao, who has scored nine goals already, and he will aim to net in a seventh successive league game against bottom side Osasuna on Sunday.

Third-placed Malaga will be hot favourites for another three points against struggling Espanyol while fifth-placed Sevilla travel to Real Zaragoza.

On Saturday, Real Betis take on Valencia and Deportivo visit Celta Vigo, while the following day Levante meet Granada and Athletic Bilbao host Getafe. On Monday, Real Sociedad travel to take on Real Valladolid.

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