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Closed-doors Clasico will be different but still special

La Liga Santander Levante V Real Madrid
Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane

Zinedine Zidane insisted El Clasico is “always special” as his Real Madrid side prepare to take on Barcelona at an empty Nou Camp on Saturday.

Los Blancos’ injury-hit side will bid to put two consecutive defeats behind them against a Barca team who have won just two of their four matches this season.

“We know what we’re going to encounter, an empty stadium, but it’s the same for every team,” Zidane said at a press conference reported by the club website.

“It’s a different Clasico, but it’s still a Clasico and it’s always special. It’s important for us to start tomorrow’s game well.

“We are not going there as underdogs or anything else. Every game has its own story.

“That’s the beauty of football because you can have a bad run, a bad game. In the end the good thing about football is that you have the chance to respond and change the situation again.

“And that is what we’re going to try to do. Think positive and put in a great performance of football.”

Zidane will be boosted by the return of captain Sergio Ramos from injury after he was absent from the defeats to minnows Cadiz and Champions League opponents Shakhtar Donetsk.

Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman will take charge of his first Clasico as coach on Saturday and told his club’s website: “It’s a different game to the rest.

“You always feel more pressure, but I’ve been in football for many years. I’m used to dealing with this pressure.

“Real Madrid possibly haven’t been at their best level in previous games, but that doesn’t mean that they will come here with low morale. Real Madrid are an experienced side and have the quality required to win the game.

“The game will be strange as when you play at home in these kinds of games the fans are almost an extra man. We hope that soon we can have our supporters back at the stadium.”

Full-back Jordi Alba is set to return from injury and Koeman added: “We will always field the best team for each game, and it doesn’t depend on the age of the player.”

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