Schuster says Real win at Nou Camp is 'impossible'

REAL Madrid coach Bernd Schuster has already thrown in the towel ahead of his injury- and suspension-hit squad's trip to play arch rivals Barcelona in El Clasico next weekend.

The Primera Liga champions slipped to fifth after Sunday's 4-3 defeat to Sevilla at the Bernabeu, nine points behind the Catalans, and have lost three of their last four matches in Spain's top division.

Dutch winger Arjen Robben will miss Saturday's game at the Nou Camp because of his red card against Sevilla, and key players such as centre back Pepe are still out injured.

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"It's impossible to win at (Barca's] stadium," Schuster said.

"They are devastating. I think it is their year," he added. "We will try to put on a good show. We won't be able to do more than that."

Defeat or even failure to win against Barcelona would ratchet up the pressure on both the German manager and club president Ramon Calderon, who endured a stormy general assembly meeting in Madrid on Sunday.

Angry club members reiterated criticism levelled at Calderon and sporting director Predrag Mijatovic for failing to bring in top-quality players.

Mijatovic put the defeat to Sevilla down to bad luck and said the team had shown in the second half that it had both the desire and the ability to put the recent poor run behind them.

"This team is strong and can come back," he said on the club's website ( "The league is very long."

Schuster said Real had been on the brink of winning Sunday's match after fighting back from 3-1 down at the break to level at 3-3 but Robben's sending off had scuppered their chances.

"We showed character but it was not to be," he said. "We did some bad things during the match but I also saw some very good things, especially in the second half."

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Barca carry a six-point lead at the top of the table into the match against Madrid, who are a further three points back. After the loss to Sevilla, Madrid's eighth of the season, news came that midfielder Mahamadou Diarra would join Ruud van Nistelrooy on the sidelines for the rest of the season with a serious knee injury.

Madrid have responded the best way they know how, by signing new players. Yet the unveiling of Ajax striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar last Thursday has further angered supporters.

Huntelaar is the sixth Dutch player on Madrid's squad, the others being Van Nistelrooy, Robben, Wesley Sneijder, Rafael van der Vaart and Royston Drenthe.

Madrid spent 27 million (23.5million) on Huntelaar and, on the day he was revealed to the media in his team shirt, the club's youth director quit.

Hours after Jose "Michel" Gonzalez resigned, a group of Madrid fans shouted "Mas cantera, menos de fuera!" – or "More from the youth team, less from outside!" – suggesting that Calderon was effectively ignoring the club's youth system.

If Madrid are seeking the blueprint for a quick turnaround, they need only look to their Catalan rivals. Six months ago, Barcelona were in the same sort of mess Madrid are in now and finished a distant 18 points in the Spanish title race.

The Catalan club found the solution to its own crisis was already inside the club – reserve team coach Pep Guardiola – and the former Barcelona midfielder inspired a run of 11 wins in a row to take a firm hold on the league leadership and become one of the first teams into the last 16 of the Champions League.

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